Thursday, November 18, 2021

Insurers Back New Safer Parking Regulations from Europe

UK Must Adopt Same Standards as Crime Levels Rise
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – Anyone who has been woken from unconsciousness at night by the sound of intruders breaking into the vehicle whilst sleeping in a lorry cab will hope that the latest initiative from the European Commission, the Safe & Secure Truck Parking Areas (SSTPA) Standard, spreads quickly right across the continent without any watering down or delays.

It seems that the well-publicised pressures on the supply chain, driver shortages etc. have demonstrated whilst understanding no matter how slowly political wheels normally grind the EC, which initiated a study in 2018, has reacted fairly quickly in this instance. The newly approved standard is set to come into EU Law through the EU Driving and Rest Time rules, part of the Commission’s Mobility Package 1. This means the measures are to be adopted on the 2nd February 2022.

The new Mobility Package obliges the European Commission to ensure that professional drivers in road freight and passenger transport have easy access to information on safe and secure parking spaces. To this end, the European Commission will publish a list of certified parking spaces with the following features:

  • detection and prevention of unauthorised intrusion
  • appropriate lighting and visibility
  • emergency contact point
  • gender-sensitive sanitation facilities and opportunities to purchase food and drinks
  • communication links and an adequate power supply

The corresponding list of these parking areas is to be published on an official website of the European Commission and updated regularly.

The new SSTPA standard follows a voluntary scheme that is in existence aimed at addressing the EU’s requirements for safe parking. Now with EC investment that will come into effect in harmony with the new SSTPA, secure parking capacity will increase. The news delighted the TT Club, as it doubtless will all insurers of cargo and commercial vehicles, prompting Club MD of Loss Prevention, Mike Yarwood, to say:

“At a time of severe driver shortages, warehouse capacity crisis and congestion throughout the freight transport system, there needs to be even more vigilance against criminal activity. The current circumstances are increasing the opportunities for the well-organised and targeted theft of goods. Every initiative to strengthen security, and the safety of drivers, particularly in more vulnerable locations is to be applauded.

“The achievement of a more secure freight environment within the UK and Europe, and indeed across the globe, will be a never-ending battle as thieves adapt their methods to exploit softer targets. However, initiatives such as the EU’s new SSTPA Standards address one of the system’s key weaknesses, the woeful shortage of safe and secure parking facilities. TT will also continue to highlight this shortcoming and invest in the means to improve the situation.”

As Yarwood points out the UK is blighted by these crimes meaning with similar trends in theft an even greater need for safe parking facilities exist. This has prompted TT to support schemes such as Motorway Buddy, which is a smartphone app enabled truck-stop locator. It is a driver-friendly compliance and safety management tool that provides the location of over 300 recognised truck stop facilities.

In the UK, With TT’s investment and collaboration with the Freight Unit of the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS), the app is now supplied with detailed crime data, mapping cargo and fuel theft hotspots. Motorway Buddy thus enables informed decisions as to where is most prudent for drivers to park-up, leading to a safer and more secure road freight transport.

So, the European standard is set, the question as ever of course is will enough sites of this standard be available as it seems they are to be mainly privately financed? We remind readers yet again of such as US trucker Jason Rivenburg murdered for $7 as he slept in a disused gas station.