Tougher new laws come into play from this Friday aimed at stopping motorists from using dedicated heavy vehicle rest areas in Queensland.
The amendments clarify the rules for rest area use and camping and provide a stronger, simpler enforcement mechanisms for the Department of Transport and Main Roads, said a statement from Transport Minister Mark Bailey.
Bailey added that the approach to enforcement will involve education, awareness and formal warnings, with fines as a last resort.
The minister said congestion at rest areas was an ongoing issue that had been raised by the heavy vehicle industry.
“The road is the heavy vehicle driver’s workplace – they get vital freight to our supermarket shelves and homes – and driver fatigue is a critical safety issue,” Bailey said.
“We need to ensure rest areas are used for fatigue management, providing a place for heavy vehicles to stop and rest safely.
“This issue has consistently been raised with me by locals, including at community cabinet events. Rest areas are not a source of accommodation, with long-term camping prohibited on the state-controlled road network.”
Mr Bailey said that to ensure awareness of the clarified rules around use of rest areas and camping, his office will launch an awareness and education campaign.
Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon is pleased to see these new laws come into effect as truck drivers will have greater confidence that scheduled breaks can be taken in these dedicated rest area locations.
“Heavy vehicle rest stops that are for the exclusive use of truck drivers are an extremely important part of managing fatigue and driver wellness,” said Mahon.
“Well-spaced rest areas with suitable amenities that are dedicated to heavy vehicle drivers are a vital step toward the development of an integrated road safety system that is as safe as we can make it.”
A Queensland truckie we spoke to today said the news will be a welcome relief to those drivers on the busier routes in the state.
“With the Covid situation going on we have caravanners here going round and round in circles.
“I went to Mackay from Brisbane the other day and the road was saturated with them.”