New survey finds female drivers feel unsafe at rest areas

A new study has found that women driving heavy vehicles on Australian roads will not stop at rest areas if they don’t feel safe.

Female drivers surveyed for the study said poor lighting, unenclosed shower facilities, a lack of security, and the risk of vandalism to vehicles prevents them from stopping at or using existing rest stops.

The study, which included surveying men and women drivers, also found there are not enough fit-for-purpose rest areas for heavy vehicle drivers, which is impacting driver safety and mental and physical health.

Most survey respondents said they stop at rest areas due to fatigue and to use the bathroom.

Commenting on the findings, a Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds spokesperson highlighted the importance of mental wellbeing in drivers.

“It is critical that heavy vehicles drivers are as mentally healthy as they can be so that they can maintain concentration and deal with the stresses of the road,” the spokesperson said.

“To achieve this, it is critical that we provide the support they need while on the road: suitable rest areas are an important part of this support.”

Following the results, the report is recommending the establishment of a National Heavy Vehicle Rest Area Strategy, ongoing consultation of an industry action group, adding clean toilets and adequate parking, and the designing and implementation of a Heavy Vehicle Rest Area pilot stop.

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