Current Transport Issues
The driver shortage for HGVs is now at crisis level in the UK. The Road Haulage Association and the Driver Require Group Ltd have called for action to mitigate the situation. They described the perfect storm resulting from many factors, such as: an ageing and retiring workforce; the effects of the Covid pandemic (foreign drivers returning home; increased demand across supply chains and loss of driver training and qualification opportunities); Brexit (fewer EU drivers available); government polices (changes to IR35 and ineffective apprenticeships); increasing cost pressures (higher freight rates; costs of Driver CPCs and medicals); low salaries; and the general lack of support from authorities and the government towards the road haulage industry.
As fuel pumps on forecourts dry up, supermarket shelves and restaurants are experiencing shortages, the supply of Christmas produce is threatened, and many organisations and sectors experience supply chain issues, the government and industries in general have recognised how crucial lorry drivers are to the economy.
As well as the industry response of increasing salaries to attract HGV drivers (some drivers are moving organisations to the highest bidders), government plans are being considered to shorten the HGV testing process and release more HGV testing slots.
The core purpose of the AHPD is to protect the health and wellbeing of professional drivers. One of the main challenges facing the transport and logistics sector is to attract new drivers, as well as “non-driving” drivers to return to the industry. We believe that improving the health and wellbeing of drivers is crucial to fixing the shortage. Maybe it’s time for everyone to go back and look again at our ‘Best Practice Guidelines’ that focus on ten areas of health and wellbeing our research identified as significant in relation to older drivers. Especially as the recommendations and links to external sources are applicable to drivers of all ages. You can download the Best Practice Guidelines here >>
What can you do to improve the working conditions and lifestyle of HGV drivers?
- Rethink working patterns e.g., consider flexible working to attract a more diverse workforce (see page 20 of the guidelines)
- Change the organisational culture e.g., focus less on telematics for micromanagement and be more realistic about scheduling to retain drivers (see page 25 of the guidelines)
- Improve the mental health of drivers e.g., reduce stressors resulting from long hours and poor work-life balance (see page 9 of the guidelines)
- Improve the physical health of drivers e.g., encourage and support exercise to increase the longevity of working life (find out more on page 12 of the guidelines)
- Encourage healthy eating e.g., provide more opportunities for access to, and availability of, healthy food (see page 15 of the guidelines).
Read the views from industry experts about the transport issues:
UK Driver Shortage – RHA calls for action
In June 2021 the Road Haulage Association (https://www.rha.uk.net) began to campaign for the government to take action to deal with the HGV driver shortage in the UK. They succinctly described the situation and proposed a number of actions. Read the full paper here: https://www.rha.uk.net/Portals/0/News/Policy%20and%20Campaigning/Policy%20and%20Campaigning%20Documents/RHA%20Driver%20Shortage%20Actions%2004.06.21.pdf?ver=2021-06-04-172031-887
The latest campaigns and insight from Driver Require
Driver Require have tracked the shortage of HGV drivers over a number of years. They have produced a number of reports detailing the impact on the sector and propose actions to address the shortage. The reports can be downloaded from the Driver Require website: https://driverrequire.co.uk/insights
The Logistics Report 2021
Logistics UK have published a report reflecting on how logistics performed on key measures and the events shaping it during 2020 to 2021. Download the report here: https://logistics.org.uk/logisticsreport
Government makes changes to HGV and bus driving tests
Following a consultation, the government has announced that HGV driving tests will be overhauled and car drivers will no longer need to take another test to tow a trailer or caravan. Read more about the changes here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-hgv-and-bus-driving-tests-and-allowing-car-drivers-to-tow-a-trailer-without-an-extra-test/changes-to-hgv-and-bus-driving-tests-and-allowing-car-drivers-to-tow-a-trailer-without-an-extra-test