September 1, 2009 — Long-haul truck operations are the lifeline of Europe, the link that joins together the continent's various countries and permits trade between them. However, risks on the road have increased significantly over the past decade. Thefts from long-haul trucks total in the region of 8.2 billion euros every year. Now new initiatives are being taken to prevent these thefts, both by the EU and by Volvo Trucks.
An Ongoing Threat
According to the commercial drivers' International Road Transport Union (IRU), 17 percent of Europe's long-haul truck drivers are victims of robbery during work-hours at some time over a five-year period. The robberies often take place at pull-off areas called "lay-bys" in Europe. The thieves make off with everything from expensive electronic goods and tobacco to chocolate and shaving cream. According to Europol, goods to the value of about 8.2 billion euros are stolen every year in Europe. If all the peripheral costs are added in, such as repairs, replacement freight and police man-hours, the figure rises significantly.
"These attacks are a serious threat to the safety and security that commercial vehicle drivers have the right to enjoy in the pursuit of their profession," says Per-Anders Grösfjeld, marketing manager for transport information systems at Volvo Trucks. "They are also a threat to the haulage companies and the high-value goods for which they are responsible while carrying out their haulage duties. Ultimately, even the end customers suffer as a result of delays caused by vanishing cargoes."
It might be tempting to believe that Western Europe is a relatively safe place compared to other parts of the world, but Europol's statistics reveal that many parts of Western Europe are high-risk zones with regard to transport thefts, on a par with countries such as Russia, Mexico and Brazil.
Anne Jensen with the EU Parliamentary Transport Committee has been campaigning for measures to increase transportation safety
Keeping Drivers Safe
Volvo Trucks Steps up Efforts
A Driver's Lesson: "It's Important to Be Alert"
Name: Hubert Seufert
Years in the Profession: 30
Home: Castell, population 350, close to Würzburg in southern Germany
Employer: Gegner Transporte
Drives: Volvo FH12, Globetrotter
Photo: Christoph Maderer