It is almost a year since the FTA organised their Driver Crisis Summit in March 2015. The summit was an attempt by the industry to try and identify and hopefully resolve the reasons for a major shortage in professional drivers. Analysis from the summit suggested that the driver shortage by the end of 2014 was between 50,000 and 60,000.
On 21 December 2015, the Department for Transport (“DfT”) made a new road safety statement which set out the government’s vision, values and priorities for improving the safety of Britain’s roads. At the top of the list were proposals for harsher penalties for dangerous in-car mobile phone use, which had been identified by the RAC as one of their greatest concerns.
Tragic incidents such as the Glasgow bin lorry crash highlight the myriad of issues that an employer has to deal with in the wake of a major incident involving one of its employees; issues such as employment recruitment practices, health and safety and even criminal prosecutions typically have to be addressed.
As the Calais crisis continues in what is turning out to be an awful summer for international hauliers crossing the channel between England and France we now hear that further efforts are being made between French and UK authorities to help to tackle the issues. However, what troubles us is that the headlines seem to focus on UK Police going to France to help tackle crimes of people smuggling. Is the whole point being missed yet again here?
Lorry Lawyer’s Vikki Woodfine recently helped the BBC in making a request under the Freedom of Information Act. Figures released by the Home Office in response showed that operators and lorry drivers have been issued penalties of more than £4m for being found with migrants in their vehicles; with the number of penalties up more than 50% since last year.