Tired drivers should not have to pay to take a “life-saving rest” at motorway service stations, according to David Davies MP and the IAM.
Mr 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.
Mr Davies said: “Charging large amounts of money to park could be increasing the risk of accidents caused by driver fatigue. This is profiteering plain and simple. There is no justification whatsoever for making a charge.
“Limiting parking time at motorway service stations is clearly contrary to the main reason for their existence – to provide rest stops.”
The IAM says that through its THINK! campaign the DfT suggests that almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related, and that sleep-related accidents are more likely than others to result in a fatality or serious injury.
The charity also says that DVSA data suggests one-fifth of accidents on motorways and other “monotonous 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.
“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.”