Watchdog calls for improvement to roadside facilities

cars on a road

The needs of truck drivers are not being met by roadside facilities in England, new research suggests.

Drivers told Transport Focus they are also struggling to find space to park at the locations and times they need to stop.

Meanwhile, car drivers are broadly satisfied with services on motorways, but are less happy with services on major ‘A’ roads.

Better roadside facilities, with more spaces for HGV vehicles, will make roads safer for all users, says the independent watchdog.

It will help to ensure people don’t drive tired, don’t stop unnecessarily on the hard shoulder and don’t run out of fuel. All factors which contribute to accidents causing injury or worse.

Guy Dangerfield, Transport Focus’s road user director, said: “This insight into road users’ views should help everyone focus on providing facilities that fully meet the needs of all road users.

“The struggle many lorry drivers face finding somewhere they feel safe and comfortable to stop is a key concern. Highways England, the freight industry, and national and local government should work more closely together to solve this.”

This research found that:                                                              

  • People’s needs are largely functional. They want to be able to use the toilet, buy a hot drink, sandwich and fuel. These needs are generally being met at motorway services, but concerns were raised about the cleanliness of toilets and the cost of fuel, food and drink.
  • In contrast to motorways, people aren’t confident that even their most basic needs will be met at services on Highways England’s ‘A’ roads. They talked about the inconsistent quality they found at these services.

Transport Focus says it will use this research to work with Highways England, Government and services operators to address the issues highlighted.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has repeatedly said that better roadside facilities are required – particularly for professional drivers who are legally required to take regular rest breaks. 

Malcolm Bingham, head of road network management policy at the FTA, said: “FTA fully supports the findings of the Transport Focus report regarding Lorry Parking which clearly identifies the need for better driver facilities on our strategic road network.

“The research quotes lorry drivers who said that all too often there aren’t truck stops located where they need them, and even where they do exist availability of spaces can be a problem.

“We have been saying this for some time and recognise the driver preference for lorry parking facilities which provide basic needs together with security on site, so that they can feel comfortable and safe.”

The Association has welcomed some of the recent provisions in lorry parking but added that there are still significant gaps on the network where there are simply not enough provisions for drivers to take their break which are determined in law and driver’s hour’s regulations.

Bingham concluded: “We now look to the national and local road authorities, and the Department for Transport, to set out plans to ensure that there are adequate facilities for drivers on freight routes which will enable them to comply with legal requirements to stop in areas that provide them with decent levels of service.”

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