In plain terms Co Ex-Exist is an education and awareness campaign to help road and rest stop users “Co-exist”.
There is wide-scale recognition that the provision of rest areas for motorists and heavy vehicle drivers is an integral part of a holistic approach to the management of driver fatigue on Australian roads. All Australians deserve the right to arrive safely at their destinations regardless of their reasons for travelling, be it work, or lifestyle.
Fatigue is recognised by Qld Government as one of the ‘Fatal Five’ and considered a major contributor to the road toll across the country. All drivers are vulnerable to fatigue. In particular, professional truck drivers who spend a large amount of time on the road undertaking long journeys have legal requirements to stop and rest under fatigue management legislation.
There have also been extensive public advertising campaigns telling drivers to ‘Stop, Revive and Survive’ which have increased the number of drivers using rest stops, which is a good thing. However, this has highlighted the insufficient supply of rest area spaces in many locations on Australia’s roads to match the increased demand. While acknowledging the limited resources, this site is not designed to lobby for more rest areas, there are many trucking and road user’s advocacy groups already doing this.
The Co-Exist campaign will focus on creating a better understanding of the legal requirements of professional drivers, educating the wider public on how they can support our trucking industry and contribute to safer roads by positively contributing individually.
Caravanner and RV users in comparison to truck drivers have abundantly more options available to them in regard to fatigue management and where they choose to stop and rest. Unfortunately, many heavy vehicle drivers, particularly those travelling long distances, are arriving at rest stops only to find Recreational Vehicle (RV) users have taken spaces designated for them, when they could have pre-planned and found a caravan park or one of the many designated areas being provided by councils and towns.
The Co-Exist website is designed to educate, inform and encourage caravanners / RV users to consider pre-planning their rests-stops and fatigue management. The majority of Australians want and intend to do the ‘right thing’ and hopefully keeping this message ‘front of mind’ will remind us that Co-Existing supports safety, our economy and our truck drivers.
This is not to say that caravanners / RV users cannot and should not use rest stops if needed but additionally, many RV users don’t always use rest stops in either a safe manner or in the way that rest stops were intended to be used. Examples include not following the posted signs, thereby blocking areas designated for heavy vehicle drivers or forcing heavy vehicle drivers to unnecessarily reverse their vehicles or manoeuvre around the parking area. Another issue is the parking of RVs in rest stops for far longer than they were envisaged to be used.
Caravan Industry Association of Australia working with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator therefore have formed a partnership education program to address growing concerns between RV users and heavy vehicle drivers at rest stops and on the road in the form of a “Co-exist” campaign. This campaign will inform RV travellers on the appropriate use of rest stop sites, focus on fostering better communication and understanding, pre-planning of fatigue management by caravanner / RV users and highlight the risks associated with disruptive behaviour to help foster a safer environment for all road users.