National Lorry Week: Making an impact
RHA MD Smith, outlines our latest National Lorry Week campaign, which took place in October.
We have a huge impact on the lives of everyone in Britain, but sometimes that positive contribution is overlooked. National Lorry Week will provide us with an opportunity to reach out to the public and politicians as never before, to highlight our massive and positive contribution to daily life.
Those words were used to launch the first National Lorry Week (NLW) back in 2015. The latest NLW campaign, our eighth, began in early October and although those initial words and sentiments haven’t changed, Lorry Week 2022 has been a very different animal.
Despite the changes, including the vehicles themselves, the IT systems that keep them on the road, and the legislation that regulates their speed and their emissions, the foundations of the industry remain the same: To move goods by road safely, efficiently and cost effectively.
Love us or hate us, every consumer (and millions of animals) rely on our industry, not to exist but to live. Back in 2015 we were promoting the industry to schools as a way of dispelling the myth that trucks were both dirty and dangerous and worth avoiding whenever possible. Children are remarkable perceptive and don’t take everything at face value.
They ‘got it’ and continue to do so. But novelty truck shaped rulers, baseball hats with a truck on the front and balloons don’t help swell the number of HGV drivers on the road, a shortage which we quoted last year as 100,000.
Our message remains the same but our focus rests on those who can make a difference: potential drivers. Government figures reckon that the shortage now stands at around 50,000.
Yes, there’s still a long way to go, but the key message is that we’re most definitely making a difference. So too has the way we get our message across. Of course, the pandemic had a detrimental effect on how we did things – the social events, operators opening their yards so that visitors could get up close and personal with a truck (yes, really), came to an end.
But now we’re in a new era, one in which social media plays a massive role. We launched this year’s NLW on Monday 3 October in Peterborough’s Cathedral Square and we’re delighted that DAF Trucks has loaned us one of its new generation XG vehicles.
We took a very short video of the truck in its splendid NLW livery and put it up on TikTok, which in four days reached a viewing audience of more than 33,000. Just imagine, if every one of those viewers decided to become an HGV driver, we’d solve the shortage almost overnight.
It’s all about making the right difference to make the change. And that’s what we at the RHA do best.