400.000 safe and secure parking spaces are lacking in the EU. This is the conclusion of the study published by the European Commission. Cargo crimes are more frequent than ever, and about 75% of these incidents are happening when trucks are parked in unsecure parking places. As a response to this critical situation, both for drivers and cargo owners, the Commission is promoting safe and secure parking areas, making available CEF-funding and it is setting up an expert group to implement the agreed standard.
Most road users have witnessed overcrowded truck parking areas along motorways, where trucks are parked on entry/exit ramps to parking areas due to capacity problems. It is not only extremely dangerous in terms of road safety, it is also highly uncomfortable and stressful for drivers, and worrying for cargo owners as these parking areas in most cases provide no protection against intrusion and theft.
Drivers have no choice but to stop when the maximum driving time expires, and deserve– a comfortable, safe and secure rest. Against this background and the context of seeking to improve working conditions of drivers as part of Mobility Package I, the Commission, based on a pilot projects initiated by the European parliament, launched a study to propose solutions and a way forward.
The study finds that current standards for safe and secure parking areas (e.g. LABEL, VEDA, PSR) vary greatly and that many of these areas are not audited, which cause uncertainty among users on the level of safety and security and on service levels provided to drivers. The study also finds that booking in advance safe and secure parking spaces for drivers is often not possible or at best unreliable and cumbersome.
As a response, the study proposes a common standard for safe and secure parking areas – ‘EU-Parking’ – ranging from a low level (Bronze) via medium (Silver) to high (Gold and Platinum), all with the same minimum service levels for drivers in terms of sanitation, restauration and comfort. The study also proposes audit procedures, standard APIs (Application Program Interfaces) for booking systems as well as practical and financial guidelines for promoters on how to develop safe and secure parking areas.
As a direct action, the Commission has – beyond the CEF call currently under assessment – funded 8 actions in the period from 2014-17 at a total budget of EUR 45 million. Moreover, the Commission is creating an expert group to further implement and promote the study findings. This expert group will include drivers, unions, hauliers, truck manufacturers, forwarders, cargo owners, insurers, technology providers, auditors, motorway and parking operators and parking organizations (e.g. ESPORG and TAPA), the latter having expressed willingness to adopt the ‘EU-parking’ standard in Europe. The group will meet for the first time on 2nd April 2019.