‘I can’t set up my food wagon because lorries block lay-by’
Lorry drivers parked irresponsibly in a lay-by are causing danger to motorists and preventing a food vendor parking up at his regular spot.
Wayne King, 38, of Cinque Ports Catering says HGV drivers regularly block the entrance to the lay-by. And once it was so bad, the only way he could get set up for a day’s work was to reverse into the area through its exit.
One time a driver had parked up for a nap, leaving about 1m of his lorry sticking out on the road.
“People were beeping their horns, having to swerve out of the way. It was so dangerous,” Mr King says.
His friend took pictures which they sent on to police. Officers did arrive, but sometimes when he has phoned with road safety concerns, they haven’t responded for five hours.
When they did attend, last Thursday, they easily resolved the issue by asking the driver to roll forward.
But it has not been as easy when Mr King has asked the drivers to move. Some have flatly refused, saying their Taco says they must stay there for another 40 minutes.
Under EU law, commercial drivers must have a digital drive time monitor called a tachograph (taco) fitted to their vehicles to ensure statutory rest times are taken, keeping roads free of over tired drivers.
According to the government website, drivers are limited to nine hours a day behind the wheel which can be increased to 10 hours twice a week – totalling 56 hours in a six-day week. When a taco says they have to stop driving, they must park up at the next stop. Usually this is a lay-by if a designated lorry park or service station is not near.
If a lay-by has other commercial drivers resting, a driver might be tempted to squeeze in to adhere to drive time regulations, even if it blocks the entrance.
Mr King fears this kind of parking could lead to an horrific accident on the dual carriageway, or prevent a car from entering the lay-by in an emergency, such as if a tyre has blown.
He claims there is not any enforcement at the lay-by he uses but he has seen some vehicles get clamped further up the county on the dual carriageway at Folkestone.
He also claims to have seen police officers drive past when lorries have been parked dangerously, without stopping to make the area safe.
We asked Kent Police to comment on these claims. The force was able to confirm it had been to one of the incidents but did not comment on Mr King’s claims about enforcement.
A spokesman said: “Kent Police was contacted at 7.56am on Thursday, May 6 to a report that the rear of a lorry was blocking part of the A256 near Whitfield.
“Officers attended the scene at 8.10am and the road was cleared.”
Mr King, a Dovorian now living in Eythorne, set up the business through the Covid pandemic and is hoping to make it a success.
Getting something done about this will be hard for Mr King, because the local authorities take responsibility for different parts of his complaints.
As well as enforcement Mr King wants signs erected asking drivers to keep the entry clear.
When Kentonline approached Kent County Council and Dover District council, both said the parking issues weren’t their area of responsibility. KCC said signage comes under the remit of Kent Highway Services (KCC) but the spokesman was not aware of any sign about staying within the lay-by.
Mr King is continually clearing the site to keep it nice for customers after having a massive clean up when he started trading at the site in April.
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