RHA response to the Department for Transport announcement to extend the drivers’ hours relaxation until 3 October:
Relaxing drivers’ hours won’t make any material difference to the HGV driver shortage, and fails to address the underlying issues which require a package of measures to fix.
RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said, “We reiterate that extending drivers’ hours can be counterproductive by making the job less attractive, especially at a time when firms are struggling to recruit and retain staff.
“Drivers’ hours regulations were originally devised on safety grounds to ensure that drivers were not put in the position of driving for excessive periods of time. Putting tired drivers behind the wheel for longer is not the answer; drivers’ hours are limited for a reason and should only be relaxed as a last resort for short-term issues which can’t be resolved otherwise.
“We have offered ministers a range of short 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.”
The industry is seeing driver pay rates substantially increase as the crisis continues. Suppliers and retailers should be prepared that these additional costs will have to be passed on.