With less than a week to go before the doors open at the NEC, Birmingham, to visitors, the 2022 Commercial Vehicle Show is set to offer a platform for transport businesses to address ongoing driver challenges. With the commercial vehicle sector reporting shortages of 65,000 drivers in the UK, this year’s Show will provide operators with insight and practical support from industry experts in a comprehensive theatre programme and the event’s showcase of the latest vehicles and technology.
With an ongoing shortfall of drivers, there is a lot of work to be done to recruit into the industry.
At the start of this month, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that record numbers of HGV driver tests have taken place over the last six months.
Policy lead for skills at the RHA, Sally Gilson – who is participating in the Theatre presentations during the three days of the Show – has been encouraged by the news. She says: “These record results show what happens when a government prioritises and promotes a sector. If the numbers continue to look this good, it shows the extent to which bringing a flexible, fully-funded training programme can impact the HGV and logistics industry.”
In addition, at an exclusive Live Theatre session, the RHA’s Tom Cornwell will present on the provision for adequate driver facilities being ‘a right, not a privilege’. The RHA has launched a petition calling on the government to fast-track a programme to improve facilities such as toilets, showers and food. Approximately 11,000 more spaces are needed for drivers parking overnight and this shortfall is resulting in lorries being parked up in unsafe laybys and on industrial estates nationwide.
The RHA’s managing director, Richard Smith, also commented: “Commercial vehicle drivers continue to put up with poor facilities out on the road and it’s just not good enough. People at work should feel safe and respected; our drivers expect better and deserve better.”
Facilities issues are also compounding an ongoing discrepancy in gender representation in the road transport sector, with women still accounting for only 1% of the UK’s driver workforce. With sophisticated automatic transmission technology available in all modern trucks, coupled with dedicated cargo handlers at distribution centres, any misconceptions over physical handling requirements for an HGV driving job are outdated.
Murray Ellis, Show Director, concluded: “The 2022 Commercial Vehicle Show aims to deliver answers for large operators and SMEs to take their business successfully into the next decade of change. The Show will provide the opportunity to discuss the most important challenges facing the industry such as driver shortages and facility issues. Together with over 225 exhibitors showcasing vehicles, products and services, this is the business event that you cannot afford to miss. It is the Show for the industry on every level.”