The DVSA is planning to clamp-down on HGV drivers who sleep in their cabs.
But the get-tough policy and its £300 fine for each offence has been criticised by the Freight Transport Association.
It says there is a shortage of designated and secure rest areas for HGV drivers and vehicles and some lorry cabs are more comfortable than the overnight accommodation.
The FTA is calling for evidence from road users to help highlight the inconsistency in standards of rest facilities available to use across the country and is campaigning for urgent action to provide more secure, safe and good quality rest areas for drivers close to major routes, to prevent HGV operators from being forced to take their mandated rest in their cabs.
FTA is asking for photographs of the facilities encountered by drivers to be sent to the association’s @newsfromfta Twitter account with the hashtag #ftarest.
“We fully support the need for drivers to step away from their cabs to take their rest breaks,” says Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Network Policy at FTA.
“Without a consistent, widespread network of safe and secure rest stops nationwide, drivers will still opt to take rest in their cabs particularly when their fully fitted cab offers a better standard than some accessible amenities.
“FTA is calling on government to use common sense in applying the new £300 fines system, to accommodate the fact that in parts of the country, facilities for drivers are substandard, or simply not available.”
The provision of adequate rest areas for drivers is set out as a requirement in EU law and yet little progress is being made in ensuring consistency of facilities across the country.
Bingham said while facilities continue to fall short of requirements, drivers should be given alternative options.
“Until there are enough facilities of a suitable and consistent standard, FTA is asking that drivers should be allowed to spend their weekly rest break in their vehicle, as long as it has suitable sleeping facilities and there are sanitary facilities nearby. Nobody wants to see drivers sleeping in laybys which is dangerous for the individuals and their loads, and unsanitary for other road users.”
Chris Holloway is the creator of Motorway Buddy, an app designed to allow drivers to locate and book rest facilities, and share reviews of the facilities available and said, “The shortage of adequate rest facilities for drivers is disgraceful.
|“These men and women provide a vital service transporting goods for all of us and they deserve better. Motorway Buddy is delighted to be working with the FTA to lobby government for immediate action to address this problem.”||EU law states that rest facilities should be located approximately every 100km across the European road network by 2030 and the European Commission is co-financing safe and secure parking projects under the Connecting Europe Facility Fund.|
To find out more about the Motorway Buddy app visit www.motorwaybuddy.com