HGV Driver shortage
Another issue of 2021 has been the HGV driver shortage, which is still an issue on the release of this blog. There are numerous reasons why there is a shortage of drivers.
According to the Road Haulage Association survey, the most important factors to the driver shortage are shown in the table to the right.
As the table shows, driver retirement and Brexit are the leading factors causing the driver shortage.
The average age of an HGV driver is 55, with less than 1% of drivers are under the age of 25. Clearly, there is an ageing workforce and young people are opting for other industries.
Brexit was also considered one of the most critical factors impacting the UK’s HGV drivers. Pre-Brexit, the UK had many European drivers running HGVs on behalf of businesses in the UK. However, after the UK left the EU, many HGV drivers chose to return to their home countries or work elsewhere.
What was done to ease the shortage?
Firstly, the government introduced temporary visas, meaning 5,000 drivers will take employment in the UK until Christmas Eve.
There has also been relaxation in HGV driving tests. For example, tests for car drivers to tow a trailer or caravan have been eased to free up 30,000 more HGV driving tests. Moreover, the test has been made shorter, with the removal of the reversing exercise. Uncoupling and recoupling exercises is also no longer part of the test. There has, however, been industry and public criticism in the decision to do this, those parties arguing that this will lead to drivers being unsafe.
Whether these measures will be significant enough to ease the HGV driver shortage in the run-up to Christmas is still to be seen.
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