For those who drive for a living, the standard of a service station can mean the difference between enjoying their job and not. In fact, a lack of decent service stations and rest stops has been cited as a reason behind the high turnover of fleet drivers. Research by the Freight Transport Agency found that fleet employees cited roadside facilities as the greatest barrier to recruitment.
Transport Focus polled nearly 9,000 customers of England’s 112 motorway services on how they rated them for comfort and facilities such as toilets, staffing, food and drink.
The UK report from October 2017 found the number of people that say they feel relaxed increases from 58% on arrival at a service station to 78% afterwards.
Perhaps more importantly, the report found there was also a “significant decrease” in drivers who felt tired, frustrated or stressed, down from 26% upon arrival to 9% when they left.
Shell’s Berchem in Luxembourg is a flagship example of a service station that puts driver wellbeing first with convenient onsite facilities, including showers, and discounts on food and drinks for truck drivers.
A survey by Europop found 64% of motorists in the UK put the cleanliness of the bathrooms at the top of their service station wish list. Of the drivers polled in the survey, seven out of 10 admitted that they only take a break on a long journey when they need the toilet. Lack of clean facilities has been raised as one of the reasons behind the lack of female lorry drivers.
Quiet rest stops
A survey of fleet managers carried out on behalf of Shell Commercial Fleet, found that 40% of fleet managers would like their drivers to have access to a dedicated rest area. A Care for B2B Drivers presentation on behalf of Shell cited quality sleep as well as rest and privacy among their most important wellbeing factors. And for truck drivers, this is even more important (see below).
More than a third of drivers said the choice of places to eat is the most important thing to them when visiting a service station, according to the poll by Europop.
The Care for Drivers study found having access to healthy food ranked as one of drivers’ main concerns. Unfortunately, only 47% said they did have access to enough healthy food. But times are changing – all Shell service stations offer healthy food options and these can be highlighted by managers as a useful alternative to chocolate bars or chips when on the road.
Dedicated truck stop
Under EU rules, drivers must have a daily rest period of at least 11 hours and a regular weekly rest period of 45 hours.
In Belgium and France, it is illegal for drivers to sleep in their cabs – they can take their daily rest or a reduced weekly rest period in the vehicle only if it has suitable sleeping facilities and is stationary.
The quality of rest stops is slowly improving across the continent, while in the UK, following a push by the Road Haulage Association, there have been some improvement in the provision for facilities for HGV drivers. Lorry-only services will soon be permitted directly on the motorway, as well as more support for truck stops from the Highways Agency.
Being able to communicate with friends and family is hugely valuable to drivers who spend days, even weeks, on the road, often across national borders. Wi-Fi enables them to email or Skype their family no matter where they are in the world. It also allows drivers to unwind with an opportunity to watch their favourite TV show or film.
Encouraging some online downtime during your drivers’ stops at service stations also reinforces safe behaviour. Hands-free calling is easily enabled today with Bluetooth or inbuilt systems, but conversations should be made with the ignition off and the vehicle parked.
 Shell Commercial Fleet, Thought Leadership: Study of Fleet Managers in Europe, October 2017
 Care for B2B drivers: Looking after your most important assets