Truck drivers have been working longer since July as the government temporarily relaxed rules on labor restrictions to address the shortage of HGV (material handling vehicle) operators. The change in working hours was scheduled to be abolished next month, but ministers are said to have relaxed regulations until the end of January to avoid a supply crisis of supplies such as turkeys and toys at Christmas.
The Unite union, which represents thousands of drivers, has accused the ongoing change of being “dangerous” to driver safety and added that it is currently seeking legal advice on the matter. Becky Gibson, 31, who drives a delivery HGV in and around Birmingham, believes she and her husband, a truck driver, are “ridiculous” that the rules will be relaxed for another four months. Say there is. “Drivers crash every day because of fatigue,” she says. Me.. “They are running irregularly trying to get the job done to keep up with demand.”
Previously, the limit was 56 hours a week, but this was usually resolved by driving 9 hours in 4 days and 10 hours in 2 days. Under temporary relaxation, working hours increased to 10 hours a day and drivers were allowed to work 11 hours twice a week. “Even the previously allowed 56 hours of driving are incredibly tiring,” says 51-year-old truck driver David, who spends his time driving at distributors in northern London and Yorkshire. “You’re using so much brain power that it’s dangerous to do any more. If it’s caused by an accident on the road and a tired driver falling asleep, it’s political. What are the implications? When driving a truck, I see the truck turning from one side of the road to the other, and I know they’re falling asleep. “
David believes that the government is deteriorating the lives of truck drivers for free, as extra time does not solve the real problem. “This is the case when you kick a can,” he says. “The problem doesn’t get much better in five months.” In the UK, there is a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the transportation industry due to poor working conditions, people leaving the sector and many other reasons. Is estimated to be. Brexit and Covid are also exacerbating existing problems.
Hugh Anderson, a 35-year former HGV driver, says the job is more complicated than the minister probably understands. “Training HGV drivers takes years,” he says. Me.. “The only thing you do in a test is to teach you how to pass the test. The driver needs to know everything. He or she is a lawyer, insurance expert, police officer, social worker, diplomat, politics. You need to be a home, engineer, mechanic, tire fitter, etc., and a professional HGV driver.
“They are responsible for the road resistance of the vehicle, its cleanliness, the ever-changing tachograph method, weight limits, emission limits, cargo loading and unloading, and cargo safety. Above all, learn well during sleep. In order to do that, we have to endure the horrific worst living conditions in the UK.
“Showers are rare and sometimes even hot water. It’s very unlikely that you’ll find a place to park overnight and you’ll have to pay a huge amount of money for existing offerings. Whenever you load or unload, Treated like an uneducated stain. Despite all these difficulties and deprivations, I loved my job and lived on the truck for 19 years. “
However, Anderson does not consider extending the driver’s time a problem. “Professional drivers are well aware that they are tired, and responsible drivers take a break or go home,” he says.
“Fatigue was a very serious condition and I was suffering early in the driving. If the driver is at that point, I have to sign off for a while. Driving professionally is something else. It’s like doing, and usually it’s not driving that gets tired. The biggest problem is waiting time. Waiting at the dock, supermarket warehouse (they are the worst criminals), waiting for paperwork It’s a never-ending time of doing nothing that tires you. The UK supply chain is catastrophic, not just due to a shortage of drivers. “
David, on the other hand, says he’s worried about longer hours, and it’s increasingly important that truck drivers don’t work too much time because they work alone. “If the surgeon is tired, he can at least retreat in an emergency and tell someone,’I’m completely tired, take over.’ The pilot has two systems. Train drivers need to press the button repeatedly at regular intervals. Otherwise, the train will perform an emergency stop. Heavy truck drivers don’t have it. If they are exhausted, they will have a career in everything in front of them. “