Lorry drivers who struggle to find safe and secure parking facilities to take their legally-required rest breaks were given a boost today after the Department for Transport (DfT) unveiled its long-awaited national lorry parking strategy. Leading trade body the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has been a strong supporter of a nationally co-ordinated approach to lorry parking provision and welcomes the move.
Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Traffic Management Policy, said:
"Commercial vehicle drivers are now that much closer to having a choice of decent, safe and well-equipped parking options when they are delivering across England – and well-rested drivers mean safer roads, for all of us.
"While there are some very good truck stops in the UK, the lack of provision across the UK’s road network has been a problem. This DfT strategy represents a great opportunity to recognise the need for safe and secure parking and with proper backing will benefit society and provide dignity for drivers who are far too often left without proper provision and exposed to truck crime."
Employers in the freight industry need to play their part in looking to use best practice in the selection of facilities for drivers when they are away from base. Organised criminal gangs are known to target lorries parked in vulnerable locations. It is therefore crucial that standards are set for parking facilities that would provide assurances to employers about the levels of security for drivers and loads.
New Europe-wide standards for secure truck parking sites should engender more support from local authorities who have often hidden behind the argument that lorry parking is a national issue for the Highways Agency or DfT to deal with.
"Truckers perform an essential function in our society and it is quite right that they should be afforded a dignified resting environment. We must grasp this opportunity with both hands to make this strategy work."