An action plan, designed to avert the crisis of a lack of truck drivers, has been revealed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA).
The association has written to the government calling for specific measures to be implemented to avoid future problems.
In addition, it has outlined the reasons for the driver shortage, many of which are long-standing.
Specifically, the letter highlights Covid-19, Brexit, changes around IR35 and training costs as reasons for the predicament.
Therefore, the industry body has called for 12 key actions to be taken by government, for the industry.
For example, it suggests reconsidering the Shortage Occupation List and introducing a seasonal Visa Scheme for qualified drivers.
The RHA believes that these measures would help reduce shortages instantly.
Meanwhile, it’s urged that driving tests for truck drivers are prioritised and proposed a ‘Return to HGV driving’ scheme.
RHA states that a survey of ex-drivers would ‘assist policy makers and industry address problems and encourage retention’.
Furthermore, better promotion of the job and sector is required, says RHA.
Apprenticeship opportunities should also be widened, with funding for C+E drivers and schemes for Class C drivers.
In addition, proposals for SME-focussed training schemes and an independent training loan scheme were presented in the letter.
Elsewhere, RHA said other training schemes – such as DWP Pilot and Road to Logistics – should be better promoted.
Finally, productivity on road networks and at collection/delivery sites need to be improved.
Treatment of drivers was also highlighted as an area that needs improvement.
One measure that wasn’t recommended in the action plan was an extension to drivers’ hours.
‘A short-term general relaxation of driver hour limits will be counter productive as it makes job less attractive,’ stated the letter.
‘We should also be mindful that road safety is the reason HGV driver hours are limited.’