Swedish truck maker Scania is spearheading several initiatives in Europe to increase commercial trucking safety – initiatives that mirror several efforts underway in the United States.
Scania president & CEO Leif Ostling unveiled the efforts at a safety conference in Brussels, Belgium, this week, which was attended by members of the European Commission, the European Parliament, journalists and commercial vehicle industry representatives.
Scania, based in Stockholm, said its top concern is the influx of younger drivers to the trucking profession, followed by an effort to create a pan-European road database that includes the special requirements of commercial vehicles along with passenger cars.
Ostling said his chief concern is that a shortage of truck drivers in Europe today means that less experienced drivers have come into the business. Scania has formed what it calls a "Young European Driver" contest to promote safer driving habits for truckers. The contest is a continent-wide driver skills event much like the National Truck Driving Championship held each year in the U.S.
The European version will be open to drivers in all European Union member countries, with regional qualifying rounds followed by a national event. The best and safest truck driver in Europe will then be appointed to serve as a model for other young drivers, said Ostling.
The second initiative is to evaluate the need for a common European road database that includes heavy traffic data, such as weight, height and length restrictions, as well as noise and environmental considerations, said Ostling. This database will serve as a cornerstone for a new European road safety policy formulated by Dimitrios Theologitis, head of unit at the Directorate General for Transport and Energy for the European Commission.