Parking Safely Means Arriving Safely

Author: Jana Bronsch-Chassard

Mar 22, 2023 Safety on the road / Automotive

Safe parking lots for trucks remain in short supply. An EU-wide uniform safety standard for truck parking areas is intended to make the transportation of goods less dangerous and stressful. Digital booking platforms help to make more efficient use of parking spaces and make the daily lives of professional drivers more comfortable.

The clock is ticking and, according to regulations, it is time to be taking that mandatory break – but there is not a single parking spot in sight. Trucks are lining up one after another at the highway rest stop. Finding a space for a 40-ton truck anywhere is almost impossible. But the rest periods that apply according to Regulation (EU) 2020/1054 must be observed, or drivers risk a fine. Thus, a truck stop’s access or exit ramps become stopgap solutions. Lack of parking spaces for trucks is a growing problem on European roads. The logistics industry is facing major challenges: According to studies, there is a shortage of around 400,000 safe and secure truck parking spaces in the EU alone.
Lack of space for parking trucks is a risk factor
Illegally parked trucks on the side of the road, as well as on deceleration or acceleration lanes along the highway, are difficult to see when poorly illuminated. Fatal accidents are often the consequence of such illegal parking. And the lack of parking space is not only a danger to life and limb. The transport industry also has to fight against theft of valuable cargo and equipment, as well as damage to vehicles. The primary problems are immediate financial losses and delivery delays, but also replacement, repairs, and insurance costs, and sometimes loss of customers and image. According to industry estimates, freight theft alone causes €8.2 billion in annual damages in the EU.
Europe-wide standard for safe and secure truck parking
However, road freight transport is still the dominant mode of transport in the European Union, handling 75 percent of domestic goods traffic. The pressure is great to make the sector safer in line with its performance. An initiative called “Truck Parking Europe”, supported by the European Commission, has set the goal of counteracting the general shortage of parking spaces and closing the safety gaps in the transport sector. A pan-European standard for secure truck parking, introduced in 2018, aims to promote the protection of drivers, goods, and vehicles. The Safe and Secure Truck Park Area (SSTPA) standard sets a series of safety requirements for infrastructure, technology, and processes. Truck parking areas that comply with the SSTPA standard must also meet certain service requirements, such as multilingual information facilities, sanitary facilities, and catering options. Very specific requirements are also placed on security. Depending on the security level, the parking areas are protected by fencing, continuous camera surveillance, and security personnel.
Digital booking platforms for greater safety and security
With their traffic and certification know-how, DEKRA experts were also involved in the development of the SSTPA regulations. After all, independent audits ensure an equally high level of corresponding truck parking spaces throughout Europe. The standards according to which truck parking areas are assessed, are divided into four successive safety levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. One of the differences between Bronze and Platinum, for example, is a parking area’s demarcation. While Bronze has a visual boundary defining the parking area, Platinum has a physical barrier, installed with protective measures to stop people from climbing over the top.
Fleet operators and truck drivers can book parking spaces either in advance of a tour online or spontaneously via app. The use of such parking spaces is subject to a fee, which creates a business model for operators. Logpay, the mobility services provider of Volkswagen Financial Services, acquired the Truck Parking Europe portal at the end of 2020 and currently offers more than 34,000 truck parking spaces. The providers also include Bosch Secure Truck Parking, which offers around 15,000 parking spaces in 14 European countries via a joint booking platform in cooperation with TRAVIS Road Services. Road haulage insurer KRAVAG, which is part of the R+V Insurance Group, is pursuing a sharing concept with KRAVAG Truck Parking. Users can also become providers of parking spaces, for example by offering their company premises up for rent.
Expansion and optimization of truck parking
Intelligent digitized parking space booking options help to use the available areas more efficiently. At the same time, there is a general need for the creation of more parking spaces because, according to forecasts by the German Federal Association of Road Haulage, Logistics and Waste Disposal (BGL), the main load of freight transport will continue to be carried out by truck well beyond 2050. Appropriate measures to expand and optimize parking areas would, in addition to the aforementioned advantages in safety and security, also lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions created by road traffic. This is because every search for a suitable parking space causes unnecessary emissions. In addition, the industry, which suffers from a personnel shortage, would also become more attractive for prospective professional drivers. The legally required compliance with driving and rest times would no longer be a game of chance with potential danger along the route, but a predictable and stress-free part of a truck driver’s everyday work life.