The temporary extension of truck driver working hours has been hit by industry backlash that the government is applying “adhesive plasters” to the problem of driver shortages.
HGV drivers can increase their daily driving limit from 9 hours to 10 hours and change their weekly break patterns on Mondays.
Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps said the move would give drivers the flexibility to travel a bit longer.
However, the Road Transport Association said the move would make no difference.
RHA believes that there is currently a shortage of about 60,000 truck drivers, and said the relaxation of driving time limits is a “sticking plaster”.
It is estimated that about 30,000 HGV driving tests were not conducted last year due to Covid’s pandemic.
Right to refuse
“Relaxing the driver’s time doesn’t make a significant difference and doesn’t address the underlying problem that requires a series of steps to fix,” says RHA.
Adrian Jones, the State Head of Road Transport for the Unite Union, also said the announcement did nothing to solve the problem of driver shortages.
He added: “Unite advises members not to be at risk and they have the legal right to refuse to do so if they are too tired to drive safely.
“Unite fully supports those who make that decision, both legally and industrially.”
Logistics UK, which represents the freight business, said the extension of time “further puts pressure on drivers who are already reaching the limits of delivery.”
James Firth of Logistics UK said the industry “violently opposed expansion” and the government “ignored the will of those most affected by the change.”
“Since the pandemic began, existing drivers have been working flat, which could be the last straw for many drivers,” he said.
“Rather than trying to fill the gap, the government needs to work with the industry to develop plans to help drive drivers over the current bottlenecks of HGV driving tests.”
Business and union officials have warned that a shortage of drivers is jeopardizing delivery to supermarkets and other economic sectors.
The transportation industry is one of many sectors struggling to find the right staff as the economy resumes, and some experts are talking about missing workers in the UK.
Some people who are worried German confectionery giant Haribo, Says he is having a hard time delivering sweets to a British shop.
Mr. Chaps said the government would “increase” the number of driver’s license tests available and consider other measures.
The government said that when using relaxation, the safety of the driver must not be compromised and the operator must notify the Ministry of Transport.
RHA CEO Richard Barnett opposes a significant increase in driving time and said it could be counterproductive by making the job less attractive.
“Loading more time into an already exhausted driver is not the answer-the problem requires more than a bandage,” he added.
“The Minister should keep in mind that traffic safety is the reason why HGV drivers have limited business hours. Mitigating traffic safety is to solve short-term problems that cannot be addressed otherwise. Should only be used as a last resort. “
Mr Burnett said driver wage rates have often risen significantly as shortages worsen.
“Suppliers and retailers need to be prepared to pass on these additional costs,” he added.
A government spokesperson said, “We are already taking action against the shortage of HGV drivers, such as strengthening vocational exam skills and funding apprenticeships.”
“But most solutions are likely to be driven by the industry, testing and hiring are already progressing, and we are making great strides towards improving wages, working conditions and diversity,” they add. I did.