New rules for use of roadside rest areas in Queensland

Motorists face fines if caught violating regulations aimed at making roads safer.

Tougher laws have been introduced to ensure rest areas designated for heavy vehicles in Queensland are only used to manage fatigue for drivers.

The strengthened Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) rules came into effect on 18 September and were introduced to ensure heavy vehicle drivers could stop and rest safely without being blocked by other road users.

TMR said general rest areas were still available for travellers to manage fatigue. 

It said the only vehicles allowed to stop in heavy vehicle rest areas were “fatigue-regulated vehicles” whose drivers were required to maintain a heavy vehicle work diary (logbook); commercial trucks; and escort or pilot vehicles.

Heavy vehicle drivers are allowed to stay in designated rest areas for as long as needed to manage fatigue.

Motorists can stop in general rest areas for a maximum of 20 hours unless signage stipulates otherwise.

Police and Transport Inspectors can issue fines from $266 to $2669 to motorists caught breaking the rules. TMR staff can also issue “move-on” directions.

RACQ Manager Road Safety and Technical Joel Tucker said it was important that rest areas designated for heavy vehicle drivers were not used by other travellers.

“These rest areas are meant to manage fatigue among commercial heavy vehicle drivers to keep all road users safe,” Mr Tucker said.

“Heavy vehicle drivers need access to these areas at all times so they can stop and get their necessary rest, as they are required to by law.

“If a motorist is going to stop somewhere, it’s important that it is a location they’re allowed to stop at, and if it is a general or combined rest area make sure you don’t overstay so other people get a chance to take a break too.”

The new rules were welcomed by National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) CEO Warren Clark.

“Heavy vehicle rest areas are in effect part of freight drivers’ workplaces,” Mr Clark said.

“They are required by law to take fatigue breaks and rest areas must be available for this purpose.

“We know grey nomads and backpackers often want to use these rest areas but when they do they are poorly affecting road safety and should instead find their way to designated camping sites.”  

Click here for more information on rest areas.

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