Both sides of the road transport industry are calling for action on parking areas, to increase their number, safety and security and comfort
A shortage of safe parking areas is an issue in the deteriorating demographics for long-haul truck drivers in Europe, and is a key reason why women and younger people are put off joining the industry. Furthermore, theft from road trailers is also a major concern and, in certain areas, trailers are a target for criminal gangs exploiting migrants.
The IRU and the European Transport Federation are calling on the EU and EU member States to create a denser network of safe and secure truck parking areas (SSTPAs) offering appropriate services. The "social partners recently met EU Transport Commissioner Bulc to call for dedicated support mechanisms and incentives to ensure the necessary policies and funding.
According to the joint statement from the IRU and ETF, one out of four drivers has been a victim of violence or an attack, and roadside facilities offer drivers a level of comfort for their rest periods that is below acceptable standards.
Currently, Europe has only 300,000 parking spaces available and only a fraction of these guarantee basic services and security levels. Another 100,000 parking areas are needed across Europe to provide decent working conditions and places to rest for truck drivers.
“Many professional drivers have to take their rest in road side parking areas," said the ETF’s Road Section President, Roberto Parrillo. "Decent work in road transport can only be guaranteed when safe and comfortable places are at hand for drivers to park up. Sadly, drivers still face parking areas that are overcrowded and lack even basic facilities.
"Now the whole road transport sector, both workers’ unions and employers’ organisations, is calling on politicians at all levels to make a network of safe and secure truck parking areas a reality in Europe. Indeed, a lack of safe and secure parking areas has become one of the key hurdles for truck drivers, which makes it difficult to attract a young and diverse workforce.
Matthias Maedge, leading IRU work in Brussels, said: “The roll-out of a network of safe and secure parking areas is vital for the future of the industry, to provide safe and comfortable working and rest conditions to our drivers. The industry already faces an acute driver shortage and to attract new talents we need good and attractive working and rest conditions. In particular, we want to attract more young people and women into the profession, and the availability of safe and comfortable parking areas is a pre-condition for that.”
Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport said: “Our drivers need and deserve better and safer resting conditions when they are on the road. The initiative from the IRU and ETF shows that we are working towards a common objective: safe, secure and comfortable parking areas for our drivers across Europe. The EU is taking action, including actively funding parking areas and defining standards for high quality parking areas.”
The IRU and ETF say that priority funding must be provided via EU programmes, such as the Connecting Europe Facility and European Cohesion Funds. Support will also be needed through mark-ups in a new Eurovignette Directive.