Extensions to drivers’ hours 'counter-productive'
RHA response to Baroness Vere’s announcement that the Government will extend HGV drivers’ hours from Monday 12 July:
Relaxing drivers’ hours won’t make any material difference – and fails to address the underlying issues which require a package of measures to fix.
The Department for Transport has introduced a temporary relaxation of the enforcement of the retained EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales, due to the pressures on local and national supply chains. The relaxation of the rules applies from 00:01 12 July 2021 until 23:59 on 8 August 2021.
Please see here. If there any questions about these relaxations, please email DfT team on: [email protected]
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.
Richard Burnett also told BBC News that “Their hours are long anyway, and so we’re piling more pressure on, and that’s going to probably force many drivers to reconsider whether or not they want to stay in this industry, but it’s also a road safety issue. So, big concerns around the measures that government are taking".