HGV driver shortage – don’t compromise on safety

The shortage of HGV drivers in the UK has become a huge problem for fleet managers, affecting supply chains, retailers and ultimately the consumer.

Triggered by the pandemic and the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the recruitment crisis shows no sign of slowing. A bottleneck in the HGV driver testing system means there are not enough newly qualified drivers, while experienced truckers – including many EU nationals – are no longer working in the UK.

It’s estimated that the shortage of drivers will reach up to 100,000, with warnings that supplies could be severely affected through to this autumn and in the run-up to Christmas.

In July 2021 the government announced temporary measures to address the issue, including an increase in the amount of legal driving hours per day from nine to ten.

The move was welcomed by wholesale distributors, but condemned by others in the haulage industry, including the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

“This is madness when the logistics industry has collectively and specifically advised against it,” said RHA CEO Richard Burnett. “Loading more hours on to drivers that are already exhausted is not the answer, this will only push more to leave. It also risks road safety.”

Here at Brigade Electronics, our priority will always be road safety. As discussed in our earlier blog on driver hours the rules are complex and vary from country to country and region to region. For any fleet manager, the key is to keep on top of the relevant legislation, especially in the current climate where regulations are shifting to address the ongoing crisis.

If a haulage company decides to take advantage of the extra one hour daily driving allowance, they should notify the Department for Transport. Meticulous records must be kept to ensure hours are not extended further. How can Brigade help managers fulfil all their responsibilities while also keeping drivers safe?

Track driver hours with Brigade’s remote fleet management system

During such difficult times for the industry, technology can come to the rescue. Brigade has developed a remote fleet management system that has the ability to meet many of the challenges facing today’s haulage professionals.

Our mobile digital recording systems (MDR) allow fleet managers to live track vehicles, providing numerous additional benefits for operators when linked to BRIDGE, our 4G cloud service.

This includes location tracking so that managers can find their fleet anytime and anywhere, geo-fencing capabilities so managers can identify when vehicles are entering or leaving specific areas, and trigger warnings that instantly notify fleet managers of incidents. Drivers can also send an instant notification in the event of an emergency.

Sadly, there is no magic wand to solve the current recruitment issues, but by fine-tuning operations, haulage companies will be better placed to sustain productivity over the difficult months ahead while protecting the safety of drivers and other road users.

For more information, please download our Fleet Managers Guide. And to discover how we can tailor our safety solutions to your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch.