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Addressing The HGV Driver Shortage

Sep 8, 2021

The haulage industry has been plagued by HGV driver shortages for a number of years now, but both COVID-19 and Brexit (amongst other factors) are creating an ever worsening HGV driver shortage in 2021, potentially nearing a crisis here in the UK.

It is also thought that changes to IR35 rules which came into effect on the 6th April are further exacerbating the HGV driver shortage currently seen in the UK, with the RHA stating that this change is creating difficulties for businesses who hire drivers who are not usually on their books.

The RHA have also published research which addresses reasons behind the HGV driver shortage.

The HGV driver shortage is something we have been highlighting since 2018 given our close relationship to the sector in the provision of insurance and risk management services. We are joining calls for further action to be taken in addressing the HGV driver shortage given the impact it is having on supply chains and businesses across the UK.

How is the UK currently being impacted by the HGV driver shortage?

On almost a daily basis now we are hearing from businesses about how their supply chains are being disrupted – from McDonalds to supermarkets issuing warnings that supplies over the Christmas period could be impacted.

There have been reports of businesses buying smaller vehicles to carry out deliveries to get round the HGV driver shortage, and other reports of significant salary increases to attract drivers.

Experience suggests that the more vehicles we have on our roads is directly proportional to accident frequency and therefore claims costs and the predictable increase in insurance premiums. Not a question of if this will happen but when and by how much. It’s why using a broker who is expert in the sector is rather a good idea.

Government consultation on addressing HGV driver shortages

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the numbers able to complete their HGV driver training with test centres shut during lockdown periods. The RHA estimate a loss of over 30,000 driver test slots during the pandemic. And as a result, the DVSA is seeing a backlog of tests coupled with normal demand putting further pressure on numbers able to complete their HGV driver training.

The government have put forward a package of measures to support the road haulage industry. And they are currently consulting on measures which would require legislation change to try and ‘support an increase in the availability of DVSA large vehicle testing capacity and help encourage new drivers into the profession’

How can we solve the HGV driver shortage?

The measures being included in the consultation are:

  1. Removing current staging requirements for licence acquisition
  2. Considering alternative arrangements for the conduct of the reversing manoeuvre
  3. Allowing car drivers to tow a trailer without the need for an additional test

The consultation runs until 11:59pm on the 7th September and you can find out how to respond with your views on the gov.uk site.

Why Anthony Jones is supporting action to address the HGV driver shortage

We firmly believe that actions such as increasing testing capacity along with easing some of the requirements placed around gaining HGV driver licences could have a hugely beneficial impact on the HGV driver shortage by;

  • enabling those tests which were missed due to COVID-19 restrictions to be completed
  • creating an easier more accessible process for those looking to join the industry

Expanding the haulage sectors ability to test drivers rather than rely on a bottleneck of a monopoly of the DVSA testing capacity is a solution we would wholeheartedly support.

We feel it is unlikely the Government will agree to a temporary visa scheme to allow EU drivers back to the sector.

Reducing the HGV driver shortage will ultimately be good for the economy, resolve supply chain issues and stop the shortages being felt by many businesses and consumers.

With increasing challenges to the haulage industry, it’s more important than ever to review your haulage fleet insurance. At Anthony Jones, as an insurance broker with proven buying power our dedicated experts can help you find the cover that you need for your business at the best possible price. Get in touch with us today on 020 8290 9099 or email us at commercial.motor@anthonyjones.com.

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