Hauliers from across the country are speaking their minds on the UK Governments temporary extension to drivers working hours.
In response to the national driver shortage, the UK Government announced a temporary extension to drivers working hours. Lorry drivers are now able to work an extra hour a day or change their work patterns on a Monday. Grant Shapps, British Transport Secretary believes the extension will give drivers the flexibility to do slightly longer trips and get more jobs done. However many hauliers have expressed concerns with the change, implying the extension will not help with the rise in demand for their services and will not resolve the overarching problem of the driver shortage. With the Road Haulage Association suggesting 60,000 more drivers are needed to cope with demand, will this extension make a difference? HaulTech’s customers share their opinions.
Managing Director of Freightlink Europe, Lesley O’Brien OBE, voiced her concerns about the extension, “based on road safety and driver welfare, I fundamentally disagree with the relaxation of drivers’ hours. We cannot discipline drivers for breaching regulations one day and yet when the situation demands ignore health and safety and expect drivers to exceed their working day or driving limits. Is this not abusing our key workers and turning a blind eye to safety instead of resolving the root problems of the driver shortage?”
DB Food’s, Transport Manager, Billy Pentney supported Lesley’s statement, saying that the extension is not right from a safety point of view. Increased hours could lead to driver fatigue and with Brake, the road safety charity reporting that 2% of fatal road collisions in the UK are down to fatigued drivers, HGV operators could be put at risk of being involved in a road incident. However, Billy did mention that “the extension can prove useful if our drivers are stuck in traffic on the way back.”
Not only are some companies worried about safety, but some hauliers question whether the extension is useful at all. Managing Director, Paul Halder of BI Halder, said “None of the drivers are interested in working more hours. They feel they are getting paid enough doing their hours now.” Paul also mentioned that extending hours is not the solution to the driver shortage, he believes more hours could dissuade interested parties from joining the industry. He commented, “the solution would be to introduce government funding and supporting youngsters to become drivers, no one wants to pay £3000 to get their license.” Dan Coss, Transport Manager at KDG furthered the notion that the extension would not help hauliers, “The extension isn’t going to help at all, for supermarket hauliers it’s useless”.
What are your thoughts on the Government’s extension to drivers hours? Will you be using the extension in your business? How have your drivers reacted to the driver shortage?
If you operate a transport company and would like to learn how HaulTech can support you during the national driver shortage and beyond, contact the team today by clicking here, calling 01782 662244 or saying firstname.lastname@example.org.