Truck driver seeks educational approach toward caravans using heavy vehicle rest areas

By: Brad Gardner

Veteran truck driver thinks he has the solution to stopping caravan owners from using heavy vehicle rest areas.


The problem of caravan owners taking up space at heavy vehicle rest areas could be resolved with something as simple as an educational pamphlet, a long-time truck driver says.

Queensland-based Eddie Croft says pamphlets explaining heavy vehicle rest areas are for truck drivers should be sent to caravan owners when their registration is due.

The Bundaberg resident, who has been driving trucks for about 30 years, floated the idea among his friends after the New South Wales branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA NSW) raised concerns about the rest area situation.

"Australia wide, when registration time comes for the caravan, get the departments of transport to do up a flyer that goes in with our rego papers [so] that they understand a truck parking bay is for trucks," Croft says.

"And they have actually got to tick it [the pamphlet] off and send the payment back to get their vans registered, which means they have acknowledged that the truck parking areas are for trucks unless they have had an emergency breakdown.

"If they don’t fill it out and send it back with their registration payment, the vans don’t get registered."

Croft says the proposal, which he intends to raise with industry representatives, will educate everyone who owns a caravan.

He has suggested fines could be issued to caravan owners caught parking in heavy vehicle rest areas.

"I suppose that is up to the individual states to do what they want to do. I’m sure if we got caught parking in the wrong spot and we knew it was the wrong spot, they wouldn’t just give us a rap over the knuckles," Croft says.

However, he adds that caravans should be allowed to use heavy vehicle rest areas in emergency situations.

ATA NSW manager Jodie Broadbent late last year complained about a rise in the number of holidaymakers using heavy vehicle rest areas as camping grounds.

She wants rest areas sign-posted to make it clear they are reserved for truck drivers.

Broadbent reiterated her suggestion following the recent announcement that new rest areas would be built in NSW.

"The funding to build and improve heavy vehicle facilities, including rest areas, in NSW is fantastic. However, we need to make sure that these facilities are used for their intended purpose," she says.

"A truck can’t just pull off the road at any rest stop. So it’s particularly frustrating when the few existing areas that can accommodate a heavy vehicle are taken up by holidaymakers setting up camp."

Broadbent says NSW roads minister Duncan Gay needs to ensure all new and improved rest areas have signage.

She adds that Gay should also work with NSW Police to prevent unauthorised vehicles from parking at the sites.

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