London, 11 May 2022: With less than two weeks to go before the doors open to thousands of visitors, the 2022 Commercial Vehicle Show is set to offer the perfect platform for transport businesses to collectively join the campaign to address ongoing driver challenges. With the commercial vehicle sector reporting shortages of 65,000 drivers, 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.
Tackling driver shortages
With a national 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: “These record results show what happens when a government prioritises and promotes a sector. She continues, “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.”
Also speaking in the Show’s Theatre programme will be representatives from SMMT’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team on how to attract new talent to the sector.
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.
Glen Mullins, managing director of exhibiting company VUE Systems, says: “For over 20 years, VUE has provided fleets with the necessary tools to keep their drivers, vehicles, and others on the road safe. Driver shortage and inadequate driver facilities are big-picture issues, needing the cooperation of government, haulage companies and representative bodies. “
He continues, “Vehicle safety and telematics technology helps road transport companies recruit and retain drivers by offering security, tracking and support. We're delighted to play our part in tackling these important issues and look forward to exploring more ways in which VUE can help businesses upskill their drivers and streamline their fleet operations more cost-effectively."
The RHA’s managing director, Richard Smith, comments: “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.”
Addressing diversity and inclusion
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 a HGV driving job are outdated.
Murray Ellis, Show Director, comments: “The 2022 Commercial Vehicle Show aims to deliver answers for large operators and SME’s to take their business successfully into the next decade of change. The Show will provide the opportunity to discuss the most important issues 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.”
Commercial Vehicle Show is the leading, most comprehensive and best-attended commercial vehicle and road transport event in the UK. The 2022 Show will take place at the NEC Birmingham from 24-26 May. The event is free to attend.
Commercial Vehicle Show is owned and operated by The Commercial Vehicle Show LLP whose members are the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE), the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).