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LABEL Newsletter Nº 1 : May 2009

by ROB DE LEEUW VAN WEENEN — Senior Project Manager, NEA Transport research and training

LABEL: Stars & Locks for Parking Areas

The roots of LABEL lie in the combined growth of road freight transport in the Trans European Road Network (hence the issue of the Driver’s Hours Rules Regulation) and the increase of criminal activities perpetrated in truck parking areas across Europe.  

LABEL is co-financed by the European Commission — Directorate General for Energy and Transport — as the follow-up of the SETPOS project and brings together 11 partners working together during 24 months with the overall objective to establish a Truck Parking Area certification system guaranteeing high standards in terms of security, comfort & dignity, food & shopping, services and safety.

Drive back vehicular crime by realisation of truck parking areas that offer different levels of security

Everyday a fortune in freight is carried on European Roads. This cargo is a welcome prey for increasingly violent transport criminals. Many valuable goods are stolen, particularly when drivers stop for breaks and the cargo remains unattended. Transport crime risks undermining the function and efficiency of freight transport in Europe. Criminals strike when the truck is departing, arriving, and above when the truck stops along the journey. International transport is especially sensitive because of the obligations arising from the legislation on driving time and rest periods (the so called Driver’s Hours Rules Regulation). Criminals know this and that is when they strike. LABEL has arisen from recommendations made to the European Parliament and the European Commission through studies on organised vehicular crime and studies on how a network of secure parking areas could promote security regarding drivers and their vehicle’s and theft of cargo.

An aid to truck drivers in search for a truck parking area with a desired comfort and dignity level

Truck drivers have to make regular stops in order to comply with European regulations. These stops are therefore increasingly an essential part of careful trip planning. In selecting a rest area, planners should be well-informed about what they can expect there. Can a planner be sure that basic facilities regarding comfort, dignity and traffic safety are present at the truck parking area? Is there a restaurant, a shop or the possibility for leisure activities that will make staying there more attractive? Will the driver’s needs be satisfied and will the driver be safe?

Need for standards, certification and access to the information

The need for standards stems from the widespread notion that road hauliers and their drivers should be able to safeguard themselves from possible criminal activities. It should be clear if and how a parking area offers security. LABEL develops a certification process in this regard and puts this process to the test in a number of international parking areas that will be the first to be certified. In addition to security aspects, comfort, dignity and other quality aspects will also be certified. All information will be stored in an online information system that will assist road hauliers while planning their stops during their trip. But also being on the road without the aid of internet, drivers should be able to find the type of truck parking area that they would prefer. A quick to comprehend signage system regarding quality and security aspects will therefore be worked out (stars & locks).

A joint effort leading to a broadly accepted and market driven process

LABEL will run until June 2010. The international nature of the problem and the widespread interest for the problem calls for close cooperation between all stakeholders, e.g. government authorities, certifying agencies, insurance companies, road hauliers and the managers of parking areas. Therefore, in LABEL there will be numerous contact moments where stakeholders are consulted and brought into contact with each other. This joint effort should deliver a broadly accepted and market driven process of improvement of truck parking areas regarding security and quality.

In short, LABEL is a unique opportunity, let’s use it!