The closure of secure motorway parking areas for trucks will not solve the migration crisis in Europe, according to the International Road Transport Union (IRU).
The move threatens the safety of drivers, removes essential facilities, and could impact negatively on local neighbourhoods, potentially exacerbating rather than addressing the problem, the IRU says.
The IRU considers the closure of motorway parking areas at night-time, such as between Brussels and the Channel coast, to be counter-productive to problems associated with clandestine migration. The closure of these facilities are detrimental to the welfare of truck drivers and operators, while the real issues of lack of police capability, lack of funding for properly secured parking areas and the problems that would-be stowaways create for other road users remain unsolved, according to the IRU.
By closing parking areas for long-term parking at night, truck drivers will be forced to park in places where safety is not guaranteed, increasing the risk of attacks on drivers and cargo crime. It could also leave drivers without the necessary rest facilities, such as toilets and restaurants, and may impact drivers’ ability to comply with driving and rest time rules.
Marc Billiet, who leads IRU’s work on road freight transport in the EU, said: “Closing motorway service areas to trucks overnight will not solve the problem of stowaways. The migrants will simply move to the areas where drivers are forced to stop, off the motorway. This could seriously threaten driver safety and bring disruption and dangers to unsecured, ill-equipped parking areas or neighbourhoods.”
He added: “Authorities should enter into proactive discussion with the industry and ensure the provision of safe alternatives. IRU will be meeting, at EU level, representatives from the police, road directors and parking owners to find an urgent solution. Tackling the migration crisis at source is the only solution. Punishing the truck sector is not the answer.”
All parking areas should be properly secured and have the necessary facilities that drivers need. European rules require secure parking on the core trans-European road network every 100km.