Truck drivers say new EU rules will raise cargo crime risk

New EU rules for freight drivers that came into effect this year will increase the risk of cargo crime, according to a survey of drivers in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

The poll of 350 Eastern European drivers – carried out by SNAP – a company that provides cashless payment services for at haulage parking sites – found that nearly 87 per cent of them believe that the new measures will cause cargo crime to increase due to an increase in unattended vehicles.

The new rules in the EU Mobility Package have been set up with the intention of improving driver welfare and implement maximum daily and fortnightly driving times, as well as daily and weekly minimum rest periods for all drivers of road haulage.

The regulations, most of which came into force in August 2020, also introduces a ban on drivers taking their weekly rest in the vehicle cab. Critics suggest that this will increase the risk of cargo theft as there is simply not enough secure parking for trucks across the EU.

An earlier poll by SNAP found that a third of drivers in Germany felt that cargo crime has negatively affected their mental health, while a recent report by BSI and TT Club found that Europe is arguably the leading region for which the lack of secure parking for cargo trucks influence cargo theft trends.

Among those who felt that cargo crime will rise, 40 per cent said an increase is ‘very likely’, with those most concerned tending to be drivers in the 35-44 age bracket – which SNAP says suggests concerns may well be informed by experience of life on the road.

Other findings in the latest survey were that less than half of the drivers would prefer to stay in accommodation rather than sleep in their cabs, and almost three quarters are concerned about the quality of available lodgings.

There is also widespread anxiety about being left out of pocket by hauliers – a fear that was recorded by 88 per cent of respondents.

“Many drivers are not averse to the prospect of overnight accommodation in place of their vehicle cab, [and] the ramifications … are far-reaching,” says the report, which asks whether drivers have been unfairly used as a deterrent to crime.

“While it is clear that drivers have wide ranging questions and uncertainty over the impact of the EU Mobility Package, having 86 per cent of drivers anticipating a rise in cargo crime should be of serious concern for the entire industry,” commented SNAP managing director Mark Garner (pictured right).

“Not only does cargo crime create financial and logistical challenges at a management level, but it puts yet more pressure onto individual drivers, their mental health and wellbeing,” he added. “If it is mandated that vehicles must be left unattended, then it is essential that secure parking is made available as well.”

European Parliament research has previously estimated that cargo crimes cost businesses in Europe some €8.2bn ($10bn) a year.

In February, Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) issued a call to the European Commission to work with industry on standards for secure parking areas, in order to make it easier for operators to bring parking areas up to scratch.

The EU has developed a Safe and Secure Truck Parking Areas (SSTPA) standard that was adopted in June 2019, but TAPA would like to align it with its own Parking Security Requirements (PSR) guidance to accelerate improvements.

TAPA has suggested that industry is cautious about adopting the SSTPA standard because its predecessor – known as the EU LABEL project - failed to attract many parking sites and certifications were not maintained.

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