Is four-hour time limit the answer to rest area tension

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Arrawarra rest area is crowded with caravans
Full house ... The Arrawarra rest area in northern NSW. PIC: Transprt for NSW

The nation’s often overcrowded highway rest areas have long been ground zero for any simmering tension between grey nomads and truckies to play out.

Tired truckies on schedules who are legally obliged to take regular stops can get frustrated when all available spots are taken up due to the presence of caravans and motorhomes … especially in ‘truck only’ areas.

Conversely, RV users who may have been on the road for many hours say they shouldn’t be forced to put lives at risk, and they need to take a break when they need to take a break.

The situation is not helped by the fact that a small minority of travellers do the wrong thing and, for whatever reason, ‘camp out’ in these rest areas.

It’s a recipe for conflict.

Transport for NSW is concerned by the number of RVs parking in spaces designated for heavy vehicles, and it’s going to do something about it. It is trialling parking restrictions in the Yelgun and Arrawarra rest areas on the Pacific Highway in northern New South Wales.

Four-hour parking restrictions will be imposed for light and recreational vehicles in the general parking areas, and vehicles lighter than 12 tonnes will not be able to park in heavy vehicle spaces. Offenders will face $114 fines.

Vicky Sisson from Transport for NSW insisted the four-hour parking limit was ‘adequate time’ for light vehicle motorists to rest.

“We encourage all drivers to plan their journey,” she said.

The trial runs for six months. A rollout will then be looked at.

One veteran grey nomad who regularly uses the Yelgun Rest Area told the GNT that she feared all NSW rest areas would soon be four-hours
only.

“I’m concerned that not allowing overnight stops will encourage caravanners to travel longer and more fatigued, and create more accidents,” she said.

Road safety advocate and truckie, Rod Hannifey, cautiously welcomed the initiative, although he thought four hours might be a bit short.
However, he said there was an obvious long-term solution.

“With the growing number of trucks, vans, motorhomes, backpackers and cars on the road, there is no doubt, more rest areas are needed,” he said. “Perhaps together we can bring more pressure to bear on the governments to provide them.”

The GNT repeatedly asked Transport for NSW whether more rest areas were planned but received no answer.

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17 Responses to Is four-hour time limit the answer to rest area tension

  1. Withthe heavy haulage machines wouldn’t take long to scratch out 1000meters of dirt /for other users

  2. Build them and they will
    be used

  3. Travellers shouldn’t be in a hurry to get where they’re going they need to plan better and not travel too far each day they are supposed to be enjoying the countryside

  4. Why cant they expand road stops where possible to include different parking areas for trucks and travellers.

    • This sounds good on paper but unfortunately not working. We often pull into a parking area only to find a car parked in the middle of the area set aside for big rigs. People just don’t read the signs

  5. Nomads have all the time in the world to plan their journeys so they dont have to stay in these trucks stops for overnight stoppages. To stay for 4 hours is ample time to rest and recoop then continue on to a free camping area or showground or caravan park in NSW. Different story if your travelling in WA perhaps !!!

    • Big Rigs and can’t afford to pay for camping?

  6. I agree with Marg above. I have seen a few like she mentioned and they work well but if you look at the photo in this article they look like truck bays, not only that, they are full of RV’s of various types and sizes. NOT GOOD. Where do the trucks park up for their rest time.

    Bring in two sections. If you look at Waverley Creek rest area north of Rockhampton QLD. RV’s etc to the left and trucks to the right. Works well. PERFECT solution. An 18 hour stop over also works not 4. That allows enough time to have a good sleep ready to keep going next morning.

  7. More stops needed for everyone.
    They are few and far in regional areas in all states.
    4 hours is a joke

  8. We have a big rig weighing 12.7 tonne, pay truck registration, have to abide by all truck road rules, have to do weighbridges but do not have to do a log book as classified a motorhome and trailer. So….can we park for only 4 hours or stay overnight in the truck section. ??????

    • You would be only able to stop for 4hours as you are not a WORKING semi trailer or B-Double. These areas designated as heavy vehicle stopovers are there for them not for RV’S wanting to stop

  9. The majority of vans and towing vehicle are set up for off the bitumen travel.Why then do they have to have a level sealed parking area.
    Are they worried about getting some dust on their precious vans and vehicles.Truck stops are for “Trucks” . Stay out and let the drivers have a good rest.It helps keep the roads safer.I drive a 2 wd s/wagon and an old 14 Coromal. Me and the dog have no problem finding an isolated quiet spot off the road and out of everyones way. Try it!

    • Exactly.
      Some of the best nights sleeping out are in isolated areas well away from the road. You have privacy, peace and quiet light a fire if you wish. All you need to do is follow a little track or small road see where it goes. If you think there is nowhere to turn around hop out and walk and look

  10. As most of you know that the Yelgun Rest Area was the first of its type built in Australia.
    Since its early days, Yelgun has become more popular for the purpose of free overnight camping accommodation.
    Because of this, the roadside Rest Area has lost it purpose of being a safe haven for fatigued drivers travelling through the night hours.
    Because of the number of vehicle’s parked in the light Vehicle section of the rest area, and combined with the popularity of the region, there was servere overcrowding, to which resulted in the overflow going into the truck parking area.
    In many cases, recreational vehicles where taking up truck parking spaces, despite the vacant spaces available in the light vehicle section.
    For the past 5 years, this problem has been subject to high media exposure, with the authorities advising travellers not to park in the truck parking area.
    Even though there are many who don’t, there still is a high number of vehicle’s still parking there.
    So it is only fair to say that the overcrowding and the large number of vehicle’s not complying with the truck parking area restriction, that the government has had enough and has said “No more.”
    The warning signs of the current situation has been evident for some time now, and the government is not backing down.
    It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that Road Safety is a priority, and every driver must ensure that their behaviour does not affect the welfare and safety of other road users.
    If a driver fails to manage their driver fatigue in a correct and proper manner, and that driver has an accident, then that driver will be charged with negligent driving.
    This carries a 5 year maximum gaol sentence.
    The RMS has put forward a 4 hour parking restriction in these 2 Rest Areas, to allow drivers to Stop, Revive and survive.
    Rest Areas are put there to help you get to your destination safely, and not to be used as an overnight camping destination.

  11. I’am a retied truck driver. When I drove state and interstate I would pull up for the night in a truck bay.In the morning there would be caravans parked up around the truck just like blowflies. Did they think it was safer to be park around trucks. I drove a gas tanker so not very smart to park next to one of then.

  12. Fair is fair. My better half and I have traveled and free camped for many years in both Motor homes and caravantTrtuck bays are for TRUCKS. Truck bays are not for Recreational vehicals. I am siding with the Truckies, find your own spot ladies and gentleman. Dont like being TOLD what to do then cop the fine. Simples.

  13. Yes I agree, my Partner and I are intending to do a long travel in this Great Country of ours, and to try to keep some Costs down would like to be able to so call FREE CAMP on some occasions, but it seems there is NO where to do so, (Safely) that is, We do not mind using Show Grounds Camping Areas / Commercial CARAVAN PARKS ETC, but find it hard to always get to some and to have some Road Side REST AREAS where OVERNIGHT STOPPING is allowed, would make our trip safer should it be necessary to STOP over Night as WE do not travel at NIGHT for several reasons mainly our Age, ( I am now reaching 80 Y.O.A. ) and not wanting to contend with Heavy Vehicles and Vehicle oncoming Lights ETC. If there were Rest Stops Areas with Gateable Areas activated by a Credit Card System / linked to our Road TOLL E TAG SYSTEM where by if you want to access the Special Over Night Caravan area, and Pay a TOLL then this would be a very good way of controlling the situation as if the DEDICATED Truck areas were also under a similar System where by they had a Specially CODED E TAG which would only allow TRUCKS to enter the dedicated TRUCK AREA.. alternatively then Purpose Built Over night Rest Areas be built just for the so called Grey N Mads / Caravan travelers to use still under an E TAG SYSTEM. WHERE by you maintain a High Level of imputed Credit Monies as is done for TOLL ROADS and this would work very well. I hope my suggestion of an E TAG SYSTEM for ENTRY is considered, as I do not believe that it would not work given how easy this could be controlled using Electronic / Digital Internet System thatm wem have at our disposal today, just look at the use of G.P.S. System that has been around for many years. Cheers Robert.

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