EU driver shortage to triple by 2026 if no action is taken

EU driver shortage to triple by 2026 if no action is taken

22 Nov 2022 Posted By Paul Mummery

The growing chasm between retiring and new drivers is set to triple the rate of unfilled truck driver positions, to over 60% by 2026, and increase by more than five-fold for bus and coach drivers, to almost 50% by 2026.

Without action to make the driver profession more accessible and attractive, Europe could lack over two million drivers by 2026, impacting half of all freight movements and millions of passenger journeys.

The report outlines alarming data on difficulties in accessing the driver profession, especially for young people, and its attractiveness, especially for women.

UK driver shortage

The findings from a number of European countries echo with challenges the UK transport sector has with recruitment. There’s still shortage of around 50,000 truckers, despite DVLA clearing huge lockdown backlogs to get thousands of new people behind the wheel.

The UK also has an ageing driver workforce and only around two percent are women.

Roadside facilities must improve to help the industry recruit and retain more people. Drivers often report poor standard of facilities on the road, with toilets, showers and food inadequate.

There’s a shortage of around 11,000 safe and secure parking spaces for truckers in the UK.

The RHA is calling on the Government to simplify planning rules to help developers build much-needed new truck stops on our roads. The National Planning Policy Framework should be reformed to help reduce distances between facilities and ensure drivers’ needs are a priority.

Reforming the Apprenticeship Levy would help firms recruit and train new staff. The RHA says firms should be able to access funds for a wider range of training options through a skills levy.

What is the IRU calling for?

They say the public and private sectors need to work together to tackle driver shortages. The report outlines 20 solutions currently being implemented by road transport associations, companies and shippers.

Public authorities also need to take action to prevent the shortage from escalating, including:

  • Setting the minimum driving age at 18, with training from 17
  • Subsidising licence and training costs for new drivers
  • Building more safe and secure parking areas

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