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Driving: Safety

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) what consideration he has given to the effects on (a) road safety and (b) operational efficiency of the displacement of commercial vehicles from motorway service areas whose drivers are required by the terms of their operators licence to take breaks of in excess of two hours in driving; and if he will make a statement; (310614)

(2) if he will investigate the effects on the drivers of commercial vehicles who are required by the terms of their operator's licence to take a break of in excess of two hours of motor service areas restrictions on parking for more than two hours; and if he will make a statement.

Motorway service areas are required, as outlined in the Government's Policy on Roadside Facilities on Motorways and All-Purpose Trunk Roads (DFT circular January 2008), to provide free parking for up to two hours for all types of vehicle. This allows drivers of commercial vehicles to comply with the break requirements in the EU drivers' hours rules which were introduced to support road safety. After two hours, operators are permitted to charge for parking.

The Government plan, as part of their strategy for lorry parking provision in England, to undertake a formal review of the whole policy, which will include its role in contributing to road safety and operational efficiency.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) when he last had discussions with (a) representatives of road safety organisations and (b) motoring organisations representing drivers of (i) private cars and (ii) commercial operators regarding drivers on long journeys on motorways taking a break; and if he will make a statement; (310615)

(2) what his policy is on encouraging drivers of all categories of vehicles to take breaks while on long journeys; and if he will make a statement.

The Department for Transport meets and consults with road safety and motoring organisations to discuss a range of motoring related issues from time to time. It was a member of a recent sub-group on fatigue issues of the Health and Safety Executive's Road Death Action Group which met with the industry and trade unions to agree best practice and advice to employers.

The Department's policy is to encourage drivers to plan their journeys to include breaks every two hours or so. Advice is contained in rule 91 of the current Highway Code, which is available online. The Department's THINK! Road Safety and Driving for Better Business campaigns also provide advice on driver sleepiness. These are online at:



To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will make it his policy to erect ‘tiredness kills, take a break’ signs on trunk roads in the vicinity of service areas; and if he will make a statement. (310616)

The Highways Agency does authorise the use of signs with the legend ‘Tiredness can kill Take a break’ to raise driver awareness of the need, on a long journey, for drivers to stop at a service area for a break in their journey. There is no evidence to prove that this type of sign, if installed in advance of every service area, would generate significant road safety improvements. They are placed on motorways and dual carriageway trunk roads where there is a very considerable distance between service areas or where there is a known problem of driver fatigue.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will extend the derogation on drivers’ hours for the delivery of home heating fuels beyond 18 January 2010. (311307)

On 15 January a further extension to the relaxation of the enforcement of the EU drivers’ hours rules was granted for the distribution of gas/oil and liquid petroleum gas. The relaxation runs until 23.59 on 25 January 2010.