If there is one industry across the world that people take for granted it’s the trucking industry. It is not only people across the UK that rely heavily on truck drivers but also businesses. We solely depend on the trucking industry and their drivers to maintain fast delivery, delivering products safety and securely to their destination.
We should consider carefully what it would mean if all truck drivers were taken off the road. It would be a catastrophe. It has been estimated that there would be a perishable goods shortage within 3 days; drinking water would disappear within 2 – 4 weeks; food supplies in hospitals would be gone in 24 hours and cash machines would be empty in 2 – 3 days. Quite a scary thought when you put into perspective. There is no doubting the significance of the trucking industry to the people of the UK and around the world.
It should be made aware just how important truck drivers are. After all, in recent years (since 2015) there has been a trucker shortage. In 2015, the UK saw a shortage in fully trained and qualified HGV drivers, meaning bad news for the UK’s economy. According to Mike Farrall (Chairman of Farrall’s Transport), “I can find a driver today, probably quite easy, but is he skilled? No way. I would go through quite a lot of people before finding a half decent guy.” Some of you may think that it is easy to become a qualified HGV driver. But, this isn’t the case, the UK continue to put up barriers to becoming a lorry driver. Many in the UK blame the proliferation of regulations for raising costs and complicating the driver’s job. The introduction of the Driver Certificate Competence or CPC training has also made it difficult for HGV drivers. This raised the cost of obtaining and maintaining a HGV license. Many were quickly put off by this new regulation in 2014.
2016 showed no signs of improvement. The Road Haulage Association says it is short of 60,000 drivers, with an aging workforce shedding another 40,000 in 2017. But is it the Government making it difficult to start a career in HGV driving or is it the employers within the trucking industry that are the problem? Few companies around the UK run their own training schemes and are requesting fully trained drivers with years’ of experience. Difficult for those just starting out their career as a HGV driver. Many new to the trucking industry are travelling abroad, with many countries mainly in Eastern Europe hiring 60,000 drivers.
Hopefully 2017 can turn things around for the trucking industry and the public gain more respect for truck drivers and realise how important they are to everyday life. More training is key, without the proper training the truck driver shortage will continue in 2017 and we all now know the continued dangers and threats this causes to the public and the economy of the UK.
There is nothing more important than sticking to the legislation rules set by the government to ensure HGV drivers like yourself remain safe and secure at all times.
As a HGV driver you will already be aware of the driving rules that surround the amount of time you can drive your vehicle at any one time. GOV.uk have outlined the number of hours and breaks you should be having when transporting goods on the roads.
According to GOV.uk, “A break is any period during which a driver may not carry out any driving or any other work and which is used exclusively for recuperation. A break may be taken in a moving vehicle, provided no other work is undertaken.”
You should drive no more than 4.5 hours, after this an uninterrupted break of 45 minutes should be taken unless you take a rest period. There are of course a number of ways you can take your 45-minute break. For example, one break of at least 15 minutes followed by another break of at least 30 minutes is allowed. You ‘wipe the slate clean’ if you have taken your 45-minute break (or breaks that make up 45 minutes) before or at the end of a 4.5 hour driving period. A reminder that this is only a very quick summary and you should look to the GOV.uk website for more information, www.gov.uk/drivers-hours.
It’s the tachograph that records all information about your driving time, speed and distance. It is used to ensure all drivers are sticking to the rules on drivers’ hours. There are 2 types of tachograph, analogue and digital. As of May 2006 all commercial vehicles must be fitted with a digital tachograph. Although an analogue tachograph can still be used. Take a look on GOV.uk’s website for more useful information on tachographs, https://www.gov.uk/tachographs
We came across this great link which reveals all the trucking information any trucker would need when on their travels around the UK. The useful link contains an interactive map with an endless list of safe places to park including, truckstops, lorry parks and other overnight HGV parking areas around the UK. Unlike most, this interactive map is updated regularly with new stops and cafes making it a good and reliable source.
A user friendly link, truckstops and lorry parks are marked clearly making routes easier to plan. The map allows for zooming in and out on different areas by double-clicking meaning you can zone in on the exact locations by viewing street names or primary routes in and around the area. A sidebar on the left lists the various stops across the UK, which is great as once clicked it appears on the map. Now you can pin point that recommended place for food your friend was speaking about.
Because the map is from Google, it enables the factuality of Google Street View. This feature provides panoramic views from positions along main streets and roads allowing you to explore from the comfort of your own home or lorry.
The site also lets you print the map off. A handy functionality, it means after you’ve picked all your checkpoints you’ll be able to print it off and refer back to it on your travels.
Check it out! http://truckanddriver.co.uk/truckstop-map/