Trade and industry bodies across all fleet sectors have been urging the government to address a driver shortage for a number of years – but they now say it is at a critical stage and the government has recently relaxed driving hours to combat this issue.
The shortage of drivers is now threatening service provision and deliveries, according to a recent report, due to:
We do also acknowledge that many drivers feel that part of the problem is working conditions and pay rates.
The bottleneck in driver medicals is something we have of course experienced first hand, initially caused by COVID-19 and the closure of HGV medical services in 2020. This led to a number of drivers choosing to extend their licence by 12 months without a medical which was allowed due to the pandemic. Many drivers are now reaching the end of that 12 month period on top of all the drivers who already needed a medical in 2021. In addition many NHS GPs cannot provide this service due to unprecedented demand.
The bottleneck has been exacerbated by industrial action at DVLA which continues throughout July.
In January 2021 D4Drivers examined roughly 5,500 drivers for their group 2 medical. This number has risen month by month with huge jumps in May and June. We are now providing around 10,000 medicals, recently putting on an additional 500 clinical hours to try and meet the demand.
Our thanks go out to our customers who have been very understanding that our appointment waits are slightly longer than usual.
We are committed to continue working to meet the need and reduce the bottleneck in terms of driver medicals and now have 85 clinics running across the country – but driver medicals are only one piece of the puzzle.
We are also working hard with our training provider clients to ensure that they can continue to bring new drivers into the industry, and are visiting large training providers on site to complete medicals as and when needed.