Members of the European Parliament get first-hand experience of an overnight stay in a truck with the benefits of safe and secure parking, in the run-up to the vote on the Mobility Package.
MEPs Wim van de Camp, rapporteur on the driving and rest time file, and Ismail Ertug, rapporteur on access to occupation and to the road haulage market, visited a safe and secure parking facility yesterday together with IRU’s General Delegate, Matthias Maedge. MEP Van de Camp and Matthias Maedge subsequently each spent the night in a truck cabin, to highlight the urgent need to boost parking infrastructure across Europe.
The overnight experience showed how the comfort of the truck cabin together with good sanitary and catering facilities can serve the industry – and the European economy – which depends on drivers having access to suitable conditions to do their jobs.
MEP Ismail Ertug commented, “The road transport sector is currently facing an increasing driver shortage problem and it is essential to ensure a suitable and safe working environment. Secure parking and facilities are one vital element to achieve that goal. We need to concentrate on areas where we can make a real difference and make sure drivers have the chance to return home.”
Matthias Maedge, leading IRU’s work in the EU said, “We spent the night in comfortable beds in our respective truck cabins and had access to all the conditions needed to start the day properly. This experience should not be a luxury for truck drivers but should be the norm across Europe. What we now need is a joint effort from the public and private sectors to develop more safe and secure parking areas that comply with well-defined standards across Europe’s core road transport network.”
MEP Van de Camp added, “Drivers should not be forced to take their rest outside of their trucks. However, sleeping in a truck can only be constituted as a good rest if done in a safe and secure parking facility. Drivers should be able to sleep at ease knowing that the truck is parked in a safe place and that adequate rest conditions, including the opportunity to shower and eat properly, are provided. It is our responsibility to ensure that more parking places with these conditions are built.”
IRU and its partners are currently joining forces in a European project to tackle this problem and develop a universal standard for safer, more secure and comfortable conditions for drivers.
Last night’s stay was followed by two events organised by IRU in Brussels today. Co-hosted by MEPs Wim Van de Camp (EPP) and Ismail Ertug (S&D), the IRU debate focused on elements from the first Mobility Package.
Besides driving and rest time rules, IRU presented its position on access to profession and access to market and proposed road charging and Eurovignette rules ahead of the vote in the transport committee in May.
Passenger transport and the need for sector specific rules topped the agenda and were debated in more depth at a second event at the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Isabella De Monte (S&D), shadow rapporteur on driving and rest time rules.
Isabella de Monte commented, “Buses and coaches are key players in sustainable mobility. The legislation needs to be adapted to the specific needs and constraints of coach tourism to offer the best possible conditions to our drivers and operators who serve European citizens”.
Presenting to MEPs at the events, Matthias Maedge concluded, “The European Parliament is about to vote on key regulations for our drivers and operators that could have a significant impact on the transport and passenger business.”
He continued, “We want to engage and bring our members together with MEPs to discuss the impacts of the Mobility Package but also to offer them a first-hand experience. The initiative yesterday and the fruitful discussions we have had today have highlighted the importance of good infrastructure and an adapted regulatory framework for the future of road transport services”.