To date there have been in excess of 3,200 reported cases of theft from lorries either parked by a motorway, in a secure area or on an industrial estate in the United Kingdom (UK) alone, at a cost of £73.9 million (US$98.68 million) during this year.
Some 51% of incidents occurred at informal truck stops, resulting in significant losses. As a result of these massive losses, cargo industry insurer TT Club co-operated with NaVCIS Freight, part of the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, a UK National police unit, to develop the Motorway Buddy app for road hauliers which will give drivers critical information about safe places to stop.
Information on over 300 truck stops, frequently used lay-bys and other informal parking sites are covered by the app. Currently only available in the UK the TT Club said it expects to develop the app for European use next, with the other parts of the world to follow.
Motorway Buddy will help to reduce the incidence of cargo theft by “producing a ‘heat map’ illustrating vulnerable parking locations that is overlaid onto Motorway Buddy’s existing search engine for overnight parking.”
Crimes reported to the police, can now also be uploaded giving drivers reports of suspicious incidents that do not necessarily warrant police action at the time, “this information will be disseminated via subsequent updates,” said joint company announcement.
Chris Holloway, ex-trucker and Motorway Buddy pioneer, remarked, “The heat map is dynamic and updated on a regular basis. The locator tool and zoom-in facility are easily used and provide flexibility in the case of traffic congestion and other delays.”
TT Club’s, Mike Yarwood managing director loss prevention said, “The latest additional functionality of the Motorway Buddy App helps hauliers lower their risk profile. Fuel syphoning can be a particular problem. It represents a financial loss to the haulier, which is often unrecoverable as the value is below the excess stipulated on many insurance policies. The cumulative cost of these occurrences along with other less serious damage to vehicles can become significant.”
Holloway believes it is critical for drivers to be encouraged to use formal truck stops for lay-overs, and for these facilities to be better secured and patrolled than they are at the moment, and for more locations to be developed.
“Our app will better inform drivers and haulage companies in their decision-making, heighten demand for more secure locations and to reduce crime both officially logged and currently unreported,” said Holloway.