Fleet News

Anger over motorway service charges

Tired drivers should not have to pay to take a vital and life-saving rest at motorway service stations, MP David Davies and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) have said.

They have hit out at charges imposed by private firms on motorists who stop for more than two hours to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.

Davies has teamed up with the IAM to call on the Government to change its policy on the two-hour free parking limit, which service station operators have to comply with. 

The Monmouth MP, who previously worked in the haulage industry as a continental lorry driver, wants longer hours set before parking charges apply. He argues that drivers should be allowed to rest properly instead of opting to go back on the road to avoid having to pay hefty fees. 

“Charging large amounts of money to park could be increasing the risk of accidents caused by driver fatigue,” he said.

“This is profiteering plain and simple. There is no justification whatsoever for making a charge. It is bad enough that motorists pay over the odds to buy a coffee or snack at a service station without the worry of paying vast charges for taking forty winks.

“Limiting parking time at motorway service stations is clearly contrary to the main reason for their existence – to provide rest stops.”

Davies’ campaign has been backed by the IAM. While the Government encourages drivers to take regular breaks as part of its key objectives on motorway service areas, the IAM would like the campaign to receive financial backing. The issue forms a key part of the charity’s manifesto.  

Through its THINK! campaign the Department of Transport suggests that almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related; sleep-related accidents are more likely than others to result in a fatality or serious injury; and men under 30 have the highest risk of falling asleep at the wheel,

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) information suggests one-fifth of accidents on motorways and other monotonous types of roads may be caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “Service areas are meant to be about safety and taking a break on a long boring journey. All too often these days they are more about selling things at inflated prices to a captive audience.

“The two hour parking rule leaves many drivers confused and worried that they may inadvertently go over the time limit if they stop for a break, which is not a good recipe for safer motoring,” he added.


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  • GCM. - 11/02/2015 13:20

    The proposals for an extension for rest breaks without charge, should be welcomed by all commercial travelers. Site operators will no doubt claim it could reduce their capacity for paying customers at peak times, but realistically, the times when most car/vandrivers would be looking to take a break, are most likely to be well outside of peak times anyway. HGV drivers requirements might differ as their journeys may be scheduled to require a break at peak times, but as they generally have a specific area for parking up, it would not impinge on other users. Lets hope common sense and genuine care for drivers safe-keeping wins out!

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  • Patriot - 11/02/2015 20:06

    Britain is probably the only country where drivers are limited to two hours free parking in a M-way service area. France, Belgium and Spain for example provide far superior facilities for motorists in their service areas without encouraging non regulated PPC's to swoop and issue toilet paper.
    The government needs to make up its mind; Safety or Profit?

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