Drivers’ hours extension sticking plaster won’t fix driver shortage

RHA response to Baroness Vere’s announcement that the Government will extend HGV drivers’ hours from Monday 12 July:

Josh Reynolds

Josh Reynolds | 7th July 2021 2:08 PM

Relaxing drivers’ hours won’t make any material difference – and fails to address the underlying issues which require a package of measures to fix.

RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said: “We oppose wholesale extensions to drivers’ hours as we believe they can be counter-productive by making the job less attractive. Loading more hours on to drivers that are already exhausted is not the answer – the problem needs more than just a sticking plaster.

“Ministers should be mindful that road safety is the reason HGV drivers’ hours are limited. Relaxing them should only be used as a last resort to resolve short-term issues that cannot be addressed in other ways.”

“We have offered ministers a range of short, mid, and long-term solutions in our 12-point plan to tackle the crisis, including better support for training and apprenticeships, improved on-road facilities, and temporary visas for overseas drivers.”

It should be recognised that the industry is seeing driver pay rates increase as the shortage gets worse. In many cases these rises are substantial. Suppliers and retailers should be prepared that these additional costs will be passed on.