Survey reveals cargo crime impact on drivers' wellbeing

With cargo theft at record levels in Europe and neighbouring regions, a new survey reveals that this type of crime is taking its toll on drivers’ wellbeing and leading to driver shortages. The poll of 350 people working in the German freight industry by SNAP – which provides cashless payment services for the sector – found that one in three felt that cargo crime has negatively affected their mental health, and almost half (46 per cent) know someone who has been affected.

Unsurprisingly, almost two-thirds (62 per cent) said they felt that a lack of secure parking is the main reason for a spike in cargo theft in Europe, the Middle East and African Region (EMEA), and that proportion rose to almost 75 per cent among those who had been the victims of crime. Last month, a report[1] suggested that Europe is arguably the leading region for which the lack of secure parking for cargo trucks influence cargo theft trends. European Parliament research has previously estimated that cargo crimes cost businesses in Europe some EUR8.2bn (£9.4bn) a year.

Respondents also said the increasing volume of cargo on the roads, as well as the increase in shipment value, are driving the trend, cited by 44 per cent and 37 per cent of those surveyed, respectively. Gas attacks on the rise “Alarmingly, it is not just incidents of cargo crime that are increasing, but the aggression in the methods,” says SNAP.

“For example, 5 per cent of those surveyed had been directly impacted or knew someone affected by cargo theft involving the use of sleeping gas.” In 2018, the UK Road Haulage Association (RHA) said it was alarmed by an increase in incidents of criminals gassing drivers before stealing goods from their trucks. This type of criminal activity was first reported several years ago, and is thought to give thieves more time to inspect cargo loads, and to decide whether the goods are worth unloading.

In one incident a haulier was parked overnight on an industrial estate in the West Midlands and woke up the next morning to find that thieves had slashed the curtain on one side of the lorry and stolen cargo valued at thousands of pounds. The driver had been gassed in his sleep and remained unconscious throughout the incident. He was taken to hospital for tests before being released.

It is difficult to prove the use of sleeping gas, but there have been rising complaints among drivers of nausea and headaches – both typical symptoms of such attacks – after theft attempts.

Aside from the UK, there have also been reports of gas attacks in Germany and France.

The RHA has also warned that the shortage of lorry parking had in general become acute – let alone for secure facilities – and that in the UK the freight industry is facing big shortage of drivers, which it estimates stands at more than 55,000.

References

  1. ^ report (www.securingindustry.com)

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