THE TRANSPORT INDUSTRY GETS SPOOKED AT VARIOUS TIMES AND OFTEN IT’S FOR A GOOD REASON. THERE’S THE EVER-PRESENT ISSUE OF VOLATILE DIESEL PRICES, EMISSIONS LEGISLATION, THE WORKING TIME DIRECTIVE AND ALL MANNER OF HEALTH AND SAFETY COMPLIANCE. THE LATEST ISSUE THAT THE DOOMSAYERS ARE WAVING ABOUT IS A SHORTAGE OF DRIVERS. IAN NORWELL LOOKS AT THE CAUSES AND TALKS TO HEAVY HAULAGE OPERATORS TO SEE IF THEY ARE FEELING THE SQUEEZE ON GETTING A CAPABLE PAIR OF HANDS BEHIND THE WHEEL OF THEIR TRUCKS.
Various predictions in the truck industry have spectacularly failed to materialize over recent years. Euro 6 trucks were going to consume more fuel and we were sitting on a time bomb in training provision when thousands of drivers were, allegedly, ignoring last year’s deadline for their DCPC training. Drivers are, apparently, not as negligent as many would believe and those who wanted to continue working, got their 35 hours training done in time. Maybe there were a few stragglers, but 664,000 DQ (driver qualification) cards were issued by last October. However, HeavyTorque has spoken to a fair few drivers in the last couple of years, who were not going to bother with it. For them, it’s a bridge too far on legislative officialdom, having to be “trained” to do the work that they’ve been doing for years and they are off to do something else. For others, it’s just brought their retirement date a bit closer. So now the latest worry is that there’s a massive shortage of drivers hitting the industry. Some believe that the pool of qualified professional drivers has already shrunk to the level where there is no slack and a perfect storm will now be created by a further DCPC generated depletion of numbers. But are they right?