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Rest areas: NatRoad urges some to follow other states’ lead

According to NatRoad, Queensland and Western Australia are leading the pack when it comes to rest areas – though it’s possible not all truckies will agree.

The industry association says governments across Australia should follow the lead of these two states and work collaboratively with the Commonwealth to improve roadside truck stops.

NatRoad pointed to the $12.66 million announced last week for the Rest Area Upgrade Program in Queensland; and the WA Government announcement in February that up to 17 rest areas would be improved at a joint cost of $14m – both jointly funded initiatives at the state and federal level.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said the announcements showed the value in a joint-government approach with a focus on road safety.

“We’re grateful for action to date but we want to see the pace pick up nationally and for the collaboration to extend to consistency on borders,” Clark said.

“The availability of rest stops has become even more important because of freight delays involving border checks of permits and test results which aren’t consistent between jurisdictions.

“We know, for example, that Transport for NSW is reviewing heavy vehicle rest stops across the State Road network to inform future upgrades.

“There’s been previous consultation in NSW and we still don’t have a settled strategy, so we’d like that to translate to action, sooner rather than later.”

Clark adds that in a 2018 Austroads research report about updating guidelines for truck rest areas, a number of recommendations were identified – though few of these have been adopted by any state or territory government.

“A seminal US study shows that more frequent placement of rest areas has a major, positive impact on fatigue-related accidents,” Clark said.

“That study found that the incidence of commercial vehicle driver at-fault crashes involving sleepiness or fatigue increased where the nearest rest area or truck stop was 32 kilometres away.

“There’s enough evidence like that to prompt a national approach that puts road safety first.”

 

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