UK’s lack of driver facilities “degrading and embarrassing”

Truck drivers are still suffering from a “degrading and embarrassing” lack of proper toilet facilities, according to the RHA.

Trade union GMB’s annual congress in Brighton was told a lack of public toilets left drivers forced to ‘go’ anywhere – or urinate in a bottle.

“This is a health and safety issue for professional drivers,” said Mike Tinnion, a GMB delegate from London.

“Can you imagine being stuck behind the wheel and needing to use a toilet knowing there isn’t one you can use? It’s degrading and embarrassing.

“I have heard of some real horror stories about what drivers are forced to do when they cannot find a toilet to use, and it’s worse for women.

“Access to sanitation is a basic human right,” he added.

RHA said better facilities including more toilets for lorry drivers is one of its key priorities.

“There are simply not enough facilities on our roads, leaving countless lorry drivers parked up overnight without access to a toilet or shower,” said Tom Cornwell, RHA public affairs manager.

“Often the facilities they do find are in a terrible state. It’s a dehumanising experience for commercial vehicle drivers – they deserve to be treated with more respect.”

Key industry figures delivered a petition to No10 Downing Street recently calling for more safe and secure parking, and better standards at truck stops.

Ministers have signed a letter co-ordinated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Road Freight and Logistics, who say improved facilities should be central to the government’s plans to recruit, train and support truck drivers.

Greg Smith MP, APPG chair, said: “A key element of the issues around driver recruitment and retention is the poor state of our roadside facilities. It is imperative the UK ups our game, ensuring drivers have safe, secure, comfortable, and affordable options that they know they can rely on.”

The government’s National Survey of Lorry Parking Spaces found usage of overnight parking facilities across the country is at a near critical level.

The RHA said it estimates 11,000 more parking spaces for HGV vehicles are needed.