For a long time there has been controversy surrounding foreign drivers working on UK roads. The general opinion is that foreign drivers are ‘taking our jobs’. While this post will cover an issue the country is now facing they’re not taking any jobs.
In fact the HGV industry needs over 50,000 drivers currently and that number is rising. You can join them here. Earning up to £35,000 per year new drivers are needed on the roads.
The government is now under pressure to take tough action against foreign HGV drivers who skip fines and ignore rest period laws.
Gordon Henderson, an MP in the south says that UK truck drivers are at a disadvantage.
Other European countries such as France and Belgium ban drivers from taking rest stops inside their cabin. This makes sure that every few hours they get up and get fresh air to stop them falling asleep.
Abroad HGV drivers can face fines from £1,500 to a whopping £26,000. In the UK the same fine only leaves you £300 out of pocket. Comparing that to the wage of continental HGV drivers it’s nothing!
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) says that UK law essentially encourages drivers to take their required 45 hour break in UK lay-bys.
It’s said that foreign drivers, once arriving in the UK with goods from abroad use our lay-bys to work around the heavy fines other countries have. Taking their breaks over here rather than in France or other countries.
MP Henderson also says that because the government has a ‘lax attitude’ cross continental drivers get the same benefits as national HGV drivers without paying the same cost.
We need more lorry parks all over the country. The work of HGV drivers is so important that we feel there should be enough rest stops, whether the drivers are British or not. This makes rests safer and reduces congestion on residential roads.
The abuse of the UK system not only effects HGV drivers but also small local businesses. Café owner Annika Hawthorn says that each weekend she sees four or more lorries park up for days at a time.
The Department for Transport has confirmed they are consulting on the issue and the whole situation is under review.
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