TRUCK drivers have hit back at service stations banning them from using toilets facilities due to the coronavirus crisis.

Australian Trucking Association chairman Geoff Crouch said drivers have parked up at roadhouses along the Hume Highway only to be turned away from using its toilet and shower services.

“In a time where truck drivers are working harder than ever to deliver essential goods to communities across the country, we’re being told that they cannot access the proper facilities needed to support them in their role,” he said.

The state’s truck curfews have been lifted to allow 24-hour supermarket deliveries after hoarding chaos left many shelves bare of essential products such as toilet paper, hand sanitiser, pasta, rice, flour and tinned food.

Mr Crouch said drivers are putting themselves on the frontline to keep Australia moving, but they are denied access to “basic human rights”.

“Not only is this unfair and unreasonable, it is a humanitarian issue,” he said.

Wagga truck driver Jason Larfield said these businesses cannot treat them as “second-class citizens” just because it is more convenient for them not to maintain the cleanliness of the toilets and showers during the current crisis.

“There are trucks running up and down the highway everyday carrying groceries, pharmaceuticals – whatever people need, it is on our trucks, but we can’t do our job properly,” he said.

“If we can’t be clean and healthy while transporting freight to where it needs to go – that is not fair to us.”

The Australian Trucking Association have encouraged other service stations to follow BP’s “proactive approach” to ensure truck drivers had full access to the proper facilities that they need to carry out their essential service.

In a statement, BP Australia said it continues to actively monitor and respond to the COVID-19 situation.

It went on to state that its cleaning procedures had increased in response to the pandemic to ensure the health and safety of drivers, employees and customers.

Australian Trucking Association chief executive Ben Maguire said the community and industry customers need to have empathy for truck drivers on the Hume Highway.

“During this challenging time, we need to consider those who are out on the roads on the frontline. Their access to services is being severely diminished while their pressure to perform is increasing,” he said.

“Men and women of the trucking industry share the same fears we all hold about coronavirus, but at this time, they are not being provided with the basic essentials.”

Extracted from Wagga Wagga Advertiser