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.