The lack of proper facilities for HGV drivers is degrading and embarrassing and puts drivers in danger of facing prosecution and losing their jobs, GMB congress delegates were told today (5 June).

The union’s annual congress, which takes place in Brighton this week, was told how a lack of public toilets left drivers forced to go anywhere, sometimes leading to prosecution and job losses, or to urinate in a bottle.

Mike Tinnion, GMB London region delegate, said: “This is a health and safety issue for professional drivers. Can you imagine being stuck behind the wheel and needing to use a toilet knowing there isn’t one you can use?

“If you risk not using a proper facility you can face prosecution and can lose your job. 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.

“It’s scandalous and a problem that has been ignored for too long. Access to sanitation a basic human right. Reopening thousands of closed public toilets for all road users must happen as soon as possible.”

RHA hailed GMB's support for improved driver facilities. Tom Cornwell, RHA public affairs manager, said: “There are simply not enough facilities on our roads leaving countless lorry drivers parked up overnight without access to a toilet or shower.

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

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

Parliamentarians 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 commercial vehicle 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 that usage of overnight parking facilities across the country is at a near critical level. The RHA estimates that 11,000 more parking spaces for HGV vehicles are needed.