It’s time to think differently about HGV drivers

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, HGV drivers have become more visible as an integral part of our economy, as they continued to work throughout the lockdown, delivering vital supplies to supermarkets and the NHS, helping to keep the nation running during a difficult time.

Despite what some people may think, getting behind the wheel of a 7.5 to a 44-tonne lorry, is not an easy job. Considered as one of the most demanding jobs on the road, it isn’t just something anybody can do.  Trucking requires learning a whole new set of regulations and a lot of skill to drive an enormous rig in some of the tightest spaces.

And yet, there remain many misconceptions and myths about HGV Drivers.  With the logistics industry in the UK facing a huge driver shortage, it’s time to put the record straight.

Are all drivers male?

The reality is, like construction and engineering, Truck drivers are a largely male dominated profession.  Yet it should not go unsaid, female drivers are certainly on the rise in the UK – out of 315,000 registered truck drivers, 2,200 are female.  The gender balance is improving and beginning to become more attractive to younger females drivers, according to the Freight Transport Association.

Can anyone be a Truck Driver?

Technically yes, anyone can become a driver once taking on the right HGV Driving training; just like you would in any other job. There are four main categories of HGV licences, each requiring the completion of qualifications to acquire either the C, C+E, C1 and C1+E licence. In other words, being entitled to drive specific size/weight vehicles.

Are drivers not safe on the road?

If anything, HGV drivers are more safety conscious and advanced drivers.  Drivers receive continuous and extensive training and as a matter of fact, truckers are 3 times less likely to have an accident than drivers on the road .  As being more careful and safety orientated, majority of accidents are instead a result of drivers driving in their blind spot or from abrupt braking.

A common misperception is drivers are primarily concerned about getting to their end destination, and fast! Well think again.  Those who stick to the rules are still monitored by a little black box in their cab and tracked by a tachograph unit, measuring time taken between shifts.  Additionally, they would also undergo regular drug tests.  In other words, professional drivers are the most monitored drivers in the UK, excluding emergency services.

Do drivers earn very little?

There is no short answer to this question.  But all in all, within the HGV driving industry there is scope to earn as much as 40k a year for well experienced drivers.  Starting salaries starting anywhere between £19-24k, with additional training and more experience, there is always potential to earn significantly more.  Drivers certainly make a pretty good living for themselves!

All drivers do is sit?

A naive assumption to make considering there is more to just hauling goods on the road.  HGV drivers have a multitude of responsibilities. When not driving they would be loading and/or unloading their vehicles, an active task in itself, and not to mention, planning routes and taking inventories.  There is more to just sitting behind the wheel.

Are drivers not valued?

What would we have been this year without our HGV drivers?  A vision too scary to imagine.  In a worst-case scenario, we’d have been in lockdown with little to eat, with virtually nothing to buy. We should recognise the commitment and dedication drivers have shown in order to keep the country running and ensure that didn’t happen. These people are often the driving force behind any business and should be highly valued by us all.

Being an HGV driver is a serious and rewarding career – drivers play a huge role in both our economy and to keep our society functioning smoothly.  And there are huge opportunities out there for anyone considering the profession.

If you are interested to find out more about HGV drivers or are looking for work as a HGV driver, get in touch with our Transport team at RE Resource Group on 01242 505400