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LABEL Newsletter Nº 3 : September 2010

by RALPH MAYER, Director of Union Internationale des Chauffeur Routiers (UICR)

Drivers Welcome Truck Parking LABEL

A solitary driver on a busy road with a long way to go... Who can he ask about a good parking area for a break or to spend the night? Where can he feel safe and also find amenities of a good quality? The answer is Truck Parking LABEL.

We are constantly exposed to new information. Labels are widely used to help classify some of this important information. The well known FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) for example, works for environmentally, socially and economically sustainable forest management. Similar labels are available for bananas, coffee and other food items. Companies often underline their quality improvement exertions with an ISO 9001 or an ISO 14001 certification for their efforts towards a clean environment. So why introduce yet another label, the Truck Parking LABEL?

Those who drive across Europe’s highway network for the first time know how difficult it is to even find a parking area, let alone guess what to expect when they get there. The parking area might not even have toilets, a feeling of insecurity might hit when entering the parking area. No fences or cameras are installed even when the area is considered dangerous. The tachograph shows that continuing the search for a better place is not an option, due to the driving and resting time restrictions. The break – or worse the entire night – will not be a good one. And yet for road safety it is absolutely essential for drivers to have a good rest.

Unlike many other labels, Truck Parking LABEL is easy to understand. The locks and the stars are self-explanatory. There is no better way to explain to a driver what he can expect, provided that the locks and stars are protected and only awarded by renowned certification companies. Regular checks are needed to ensure that the stars and locks are still justified. We also recommend the introduction of a user-feedback function with a control mechanism in case of negative feedback. After all, the certification company will be present once a year, the drivers every day!

LABEL must become available through the typical information systems of the driver, e.g. navigation systems, inboard units, information boards along the highway etc. The clarity of the information needs to be such that drivers can still concentrate on the road. Technology is on our side and is developing rapidly.

Last but not least, we now have a good idea of how to make drivers’ lives more comfortable. We have a brilliant and easy to understand pictogram for security and comfort at the Truck Parking Areas, and we have a certification process that has been tested. All of this is of no use if no one knows about Truck Parking LABEL. As we near the end of the project, we need to launch a huge information campaign for drivers, for dispatchers, for hauliers, for truck parking operators, for insurance companies and other interested parties. This will ensure that certified Truck Parking Areas will be used more frequently and therefore, more operators will choose for LABEL. Truck Parking is a business like any other. We have to make it happen.