A promise by the UK government to deliver secure and safe parking spaces for trucks has not been delivered, a trade association warns.
Logistics UK says that drivers are unable to sleep and rest properly and are vulnerable without having secure spaces.
They say that more than 1,400 HGV drivers are being forced to spend the night sleeping in their cabs – and most of them have few or no facilities or will be parked up in unsafe places.
The organisation’s policy director, Elizabeth de Jong, said: “Whether working in a factory, retail outlet, office or at home, we all take it for granted that we have access to a toilet, handwashing facilities, a hot shower and food when we need it, as well as somewhere safe and secure to have a rest.
‘For HGV drivers basic human rights are still a fantasy’
“Yet for many HGV drivers, these basic human rights are still a fantasy. No one wants to see drivers forced to park up on the roadside, on industrial or retail parks or in public spaces but for many of those tasked with keeping UK plc stocked with everything it needs, there is simply no alternative – and this situation is hindering the diversification of our workforce. That is not acceptable.”
She added: “Currently, it is estimated that less than 1% of the HGV drivers working on the UK’s roads are women, but with no reassurance of safety and security when taking a legally required break, even for a couple of hours, no woman would want to put herself in a potentially risky situation.
“Industry can only do so much to attract new entrants to the industry: we need the government to prioritise the provision of new parking areas across the strategic roads network so that all potential employees can regard an HGV driving job as a safe and highly valued role.”
The Transport Focus survey for 2020-21 found that 56% of respondents rated parking space availability for trucks as “very poor”, or “fairly poor”.
Need for 1,400 safe overnight parking locations
And in 2017, a Department for Transport survey highlighted the urgent need for 1,400 safe overnight parking locations in England.
Ms de Jong said: “Government has been promising improvements in this area for a number of years, but we need these promises to be delivered.
“It is galling to think that the workforce which was celebrated as key workers when they ensured we were stocked with the goods and services we needed during the pandemic is not worth more.
“It is almost impossible for our sector to attract new employees, particularly women, into the industry when they could be forced to take their legally mandated breaks in unsafe locations.
“The industry is doing all it can to fill the current shortfall of drivers but needs government to fulfil its promises to help. Without it, logistics cannot be expected to support the full recovery of UK plc in an effective manner.”