CRACK DOWN: Fines for cars parked in truck spots now reality
NSW officials are finally cracking down on campers and caravanners using truckies' parking spots with $114 instant fines being handed to offenders in two eastern seaboard holiday hotspots.
The fines are a part of a new trial, announced today, targetting parking at Yelgun rest area, north of Brunswick Heads, and Arrawarra rest area, north of Coffs Harbour, to "ensure spaces are available for all drivers to rest and manage their fatigue".
The move comes after Big Rigs started its Don't Steal Our Space campaign to help stamp out the bad behaviour at these rest stops late last year.
During the trial, which is to run for six months, light vehicles (passenger and commercial vehicles less than 12 tonnes) will not be permitted to park in heavy vehicle spaces in these two locations.
A four hour parking limit will also be trialled in the general vehicle parking spaces.
When asked why the government department was finally doing something about the issue now, Acting Director Northern Brett Butcher told Big Rigs that it was about safety.
"There's some rest areas, particularly on the north coast that have become very popular for recreational vehicles these days and we're getting a lot of feedback about overcrowding and there not being enough space for drivers who are, by law, have an obligation to take time to rest," he said.
"Safety is our number one priority and driver fatigue is a big contributor to that in New South Wales and we want to make sure we're getting the best outcome for all drivers.
"The other part of the trial is protection of the truck parking spaces - which I think is a real positive for heavy vehicle industry.
"The protection is an on the spot if anyone is parked in a space that shouldn't be, they will be liable for an on the spot fine."
Mr Butcher said for travellers staying in the area for longer than a rest break, there was a wide range of accommodation options in the local areas of both rest areas.
During the trial period, Transport NSW will be working with both the NSW Police Force and the local councils (Byron Shire Council and Coffs Harbour City Council) as to who will be doing most of the enforcement.
However, he said officers would not be present 24 hours a day.
"We have the feeling it will probably be the police who will be doing most of the enforcement, but council also have the power to issue fines," he said.
He said Transport NSW had also erected signs in both Yelgun and Arrawarra pointing motorists who might need a longer rest or alternative accommodation in the area.
Depending on the results of the trial, Mr Butcher said the process could continue at Yelgun and Arrawrarra, and possibly be rolled out in other rest areas.
"We have a lot of rest areas in NSW and up until this point we haven't gone to this level of enforcement by restricting users to four hours," he said.
"In general this hasn't been done before so we want to trial it and get the feedback to see how it goes and then make a decision as to whether we continue and or extend into other areas."
Mr Butcher said he believed it was "primarily a coastal issue, not exclusively to the east coast, but there is a particularly higher volume of traffic on the Pacific and Princess highways".