Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Truck Parking Facilities Need Improving For Freight Vehicles

Horrendous Cases Illustrate the Need for Extra Security
Shipping News Feature

UK – US – In March we highlighted the tragic case of Jason Rivenburg, murdered in the cab of his rig whilst parked overnight in South Carolina for a paltry $7, and at least from his brutal killing has come action in the US to promote safer, better lit parking areas for truckers who are forced to stop by fatigue and hours of service. Now in the UK a close call for HGV driver Ian Gammell has illustrated that dangers exist for UK hauliers as much as for their American cousins.

Around 4.30 am last Thursday Ian was woken by three passers by banging on his cab door, desperate to let him know that his lorry had be the victim of an unprovoked arson attack. After scrambling from the truck he stood and watched around £100,000 worth of lorry and cargo burn out completely causing untold expense and aggravation for his bosses at R. Rudge & Son.

Most drivers who are forced to stay out overnight will be familiar with the slashed tilt cover or rocking of the cab to ascertain if anyone is sleeping in it as a prelude to theft but these two attacks illustrate the very darkest of risks which a driver can be subjected to whilst simply doing his job.

This week saw the Road Haulage Association (RHA) giving a formal written response to the Department for Transport’s consultation on roadside facilities. The RHA pointed out that the government had to find ways to encourage the operators of motorway service areas to raise the bar when it came to the standards of British truck stops. They pointed out that at present the reaction to an improvement in facilities and security at a site was simply to increase the rates for the operator, itself a deterrent for actually taking action.

“Improved security would deter crime against the transport industry and reduce the demands on police resources,” says RHA security and infrastructure manager Chrys Rampley. Standards for truck stops generally vary considerably from country to country but suitable, safe truck parking is surely an area where the EU could set minimum standards, especially considering the amount of revenue all governments raise from the industry.