Last reviewed 2 December 2020

In September, we reported on a smartphone app that the Government and various trade organisations recognise as the preferred truck stop locator for UK and European drivers (see “Freight insurer backs Motorway Buddy App”).

Motorway Buddy (motorwaybuddy.com) has since been upgraded to add UK police-sourced theft and vehicle interference data to help drivers to identify safer parking options.

The app, which has been downloaded 130,000 times and used on over three million occasions, has been made possible by a partnership between Motorway Buddy, freight industry insurer TT Club and NaVCIS Freight, part of the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, a UK national police unit.

Police theft and incident data is used by NaVCIS Freight to produce a “heat map” illustrating vulnerable parking locations that is overlaid onto Motorway Buddy’s existing search engine for overnight parking.

In addition to crimes reported to the police, the app’s new functionality also allows drivers to upload reports of suspicious incidents that do not necessarily warrant police action at the time.

This information will be disseminated via subsequent updates.

In addition to information on over 300 truck stops, frequently used lay-bys and other informal parking sites are covered by the app and the newly installed heat map.

The latest NaVCIS data emphasises the risks of utilising these informal, unsecured areas. So far this year, of the more than 3200 cases handled by the unit, 51% occurred in such locations, with a cargo value of nearly £74 million.

Speaking on behalf of TT Club, 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, he pointed out.