Recent talks in Westminster have highlighted the apparent lack of parking facilities for lorry drivers. This debate has been acknowledged favourably by the Freight Transport Association as well as those involved in haulage work across the country. The Minister of State for Transport, John Hayes, has highlighted the distinct lack of facilities for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and has labelled it a national problem that requires immediate action from Government, local authorities and the industry itself.
What Are The Issues for Drivers?
As every driver undergoing haulage work will know, driving HGVs brings a number of rules and restrictions with it. Regular breaks must be taken and drivers must only spend a certain amount of time on the road driving to remain legal and safe. Not only is it a legal requirement to take a break, it is also a human need: toilet breaks, meal breaks and sleeping breaks must be taken if drivers are to function properly and healthily.
With such limited rest stops around the country, more and more drivers are finding it hard to function efficiently. The lack of suitable rest stops could well be a contributing factor to why there is a distinct shortage of drivers remaining in the industry, and why there are fewer people wanting to join.
The Current Situation
At the moment, facilities are few and far between. Even within a facility, spaces to park can be very limited, leaving many drivers who need to take a break unable to do so! Having to turn around and get back on the road to drive to the next potential rest spot is not a viable option when a break is legally required to be taken. Facilities have also been reported to be substandard in the case of many service stations accommodating HGVs. Drivers need to feel safe and comfortable when they stop and facilities need to be able to meet the basic needs of drivers who are on the road for long periods of time. Many rest stops fall short in what they provide and this has to be changed.
What Was Discussed in The Debate
It was recognised by all parties in the debate that HGVs are a necessary component in the country’s economy. Without them, the economy would suffer because goods we make, grow and produce would not be transported for sale.
The Transport Minister has stated that he wants to set up a Round Table to discuss the HGV parking issue. The aim is to include those companies operating the truck stops as well as members involved in haulage work and the freight industry. With the extent of the issues on the road being brought to the attention of the Government, hopefully moves will be made to make the necessary changes.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.