New rules ban overnight stays and camping

Highway rest areas are not a source
of accommodation, says Minister

Rest area sign Have your say

TOUGH new laws aimed at stopping travellers using dedicated heavy vehicle rest areas in Queensland came into force today.

The changes follow continuing complaints from truckies about being squeezed out of some rest areas by inconsiderate caravanners and other RVers using them as a cheap way to travel. Offenders could be slapped with $266 on-the-spot fines.

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey explained that the roadside facilities were not a source of accommodation, with long-term camping prohibited on the state-controlled road network.

"Changes to rest area and illegal camping laws will help solve the problem," he said.

Mr Bailey believed the new rules on rest area use and illegal camping would give better access to truck drivers across the Sunshine State.

"The road is the heavy vehicle driver's workplace they get vital freight to our supermarket shelves and homes and driver fatigue is a critical safety issue.

"We need to ensure rest areas are used for fatigue management, providing a place for heavy vehicles to stop and rest safely.

"This issue has consistently been raised with me by locals, including at Community Cabinet events.

'Amendments clarify the rules for rest area use'

"The amendments clarify the rules for rest area use and camping. They provide a stronger, simpler enforcement mechanisms for the Department of Transport and Main Roads."

The changes will come into effect on September 18.

Mr Bailey said an efficient and safe freight industry was a crucial element to Queensland's COVID-19 recovery.

His department would launch a campaign to ensure awareness of the amended rules governing the use of rest areas and camping .

"Our approach to enforcement will involve education, awareness and formal warnings, with fines as a last resort," he said.

"Rest areas are provided for the convenience of all motorists to manage driver fatigue and they need to be used fairly for all road users' safety and amenity."

Mr Bailey explained that commercial trucks, fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles under the Heavy Vehicle National Law, and accompanying pilot and escort vehicles were the only vehicles that could use heavy vehicle rest areas.

"Caravans and motorhomes are not classed as heavy vehicles," he added.

Queensland Trucking Association chief executive Gary Mahon has welcomed the new rules.

"We are pleased to see these new laws come into effect as truck drivers will have greater confidence that scheduled rest breaks can be taken in these dedicated rest area locations," he said.

Click here to see the rest area legislation.


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Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
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