Disappearing drivers - why the UK desperately needs more truckers


Britain's road transport industry has a problem.

The Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association issued a joint statement last year saying the industry is short by about 45,000 drivers, and another 40,000 are likely to leave by 2017.


The average age of drivers is high - around 53 and more people are retiring than starting in the job. But that’s not the whole story. There are lots of men and women out there who are qualified as HGV drivers but who don’t currently drive for a living - nearly 80,000 according to the Office for National Statistics. You probably know a few of them - you could even be one yourself.

It seems other jobs are more attractive than driving a truck right now. Reasons could include low pay, unsociable hours and stress, stricter medical requirements, and tougher validation like CPC. In surveys, drivers also complain of a lack of respect for the industry as a whole.

Young people are turning their back on a career as a driver with some citing the cost of training and obtaining a HGV licence as a barrier to entry.

What’s the solution?

There’s a lot of debate about how to tackle the problem. The FTA wants low-cost training loans, better driver facilities, and a campaign to raise awareness of the sector. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills recommends more career information and better vocational qualifications for the logistics industry as a whole

But the opinion of drivers - according to a recent returnloads.net survey - is clear. More than 95% say increased wages would go a long way to solving the problem.

Read the full returnloads.net survey here: https://www.returnloads.net/pdfs/driver-shortage-survey-2016/

Industry insider view.

Ken Mallinson & Sons Ltd, founded in 1972, is a family operated, national/international transport company. Today Stephen Mallinson is the Managing Director overseeing the running of the business. Stephen commented: "The driver shortage problem is a worrying and growing issue. At KMS we pride ourselves in delivering a range of services across a number of industries, from construction and agricultural products to foods and beverage deliveries, but there are times when finding drivers is an issue. Like other companies, we have a modern fleet of safe vehicles, all with the creature comforts a driver could ask for, but at times the limitations of staff can hamper business."

He added: "The RHA and FTA issued some alarming driver shortage stats recently and without major focus from both within and outside of the industry, this is an issue that will become a primary concern."


Fuel a new career!

The RHA has partnered with The Fuelcard Company, supplier of the RHA Fuelcard, to give a young person aged 18-25 the opportunity to kick-start a career as an HGV driver. 

Entrants must hold a full, clean driver’s licence and be a resident in the UK. If they’re the lucky winner, they’ll be given full training, provided by Pertemps Driver Training, enabling them to take their HGV test.

Maybe you know of someone who is looking for a career move with plenty of scope and opportunity for growth?  Now is a great time to become part of the road transport sector - the UK needs over 45,000 more drivers and the industry is evolving like never before.

To enter the competition and read full terms and conditions visit:


What do you think?

For some drivers, the shortage could be good news, as demand could help to improve pay, conditions and respect for the industry as a whole. On the other hand, the problem is worrying for the entire sector, and for the other industries that depend on it. One thing that’s for sure is it’s not going away - we’ll be talking about the driver shortage for years to come.

So have your say on RoadStars. Post your comment below.

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