As you likely already know, the new Coronavirus outbreak has been causing chaos all around the world at a rate never seen before. While a lot of the governments across Europe and even around the rest of the globe have been trying to enforce policies like social distancing and lockdowns, truck drivers play a pivotal role in society. This is especially true when you factor in the drivers that deliver essential goods needed during this time. Every single day, truck drivers, well trained through the HGV Driver Training Centre, put themselves at heightened risk of getting the virus and even to spread it to others whom they encounter while on the road. They even risk spreading it to their own families. Keeping this in mind, we will be going over some of the things that senior management and governing bodies have been advocating for and implementing to decrease the risk for truck drivers. Our goal is to help maximise your awareness and keep you as protected as possible during these unprecedented times.
Are Truck Drivers Essential Workers?
Any HGV driver is considered someone who is essential during this pandemic. Any truck driver who delivers various essential foods including food, medicine, or even veterinary care is considered essential workers according to Gov.co.uk.
Changes to Hour Rules
Because there has been such unprecedented demand for various goods deemed essential including but not limited to medicine and food, there has been a subsequent increase in demand for truck drivers to deliver them. Because of this, the Department of Transport went out of there way to reduce the stringency of the regulations on lorry driver’s maximum driving hours in order to help meet the increased demand for these essential goods during the lockdown and the unprecedented pandemic. While these changes are not expected to impact a driver’s welfare or safety on the roads, it’s important to be aware of them.
Here are the changes:
- The driving limits have been increased from 9 hours previously to 11 hours now.
- The daily rest requirements have gone from 11 hours to 9 hours each day.
- The weekly driving limits have gone from 90 hours total to 96 hours total.
- The limits for fortnightly driving has increased from 90 to 96 hours.
- Drivers are able to go 5.5 hours without taking a break rather than the previous 4.4 hours.
It is very important to adhere to these new rules in order to ensure that you are putting yourself in the safest possible positions while on the road. The Department for Transport makes it very clear that truck drivers’ safety should not be compromised and the drivers are never to venture out when they are tired. Likewise, employers remain responsible for both the health and safety of everyone they employ and those they endanger while on the roads.
Following appropriate hygiene protocols while on the road:
In the past few weeks, the Government has continued to usher out different guidelines that the public should be following to prevent the spreading of the virus. That being said, these guidelines aren’t always the easiest to adhere to while you are on the road.
These are the ways you can reduce the chances of spreading the virus while working:
- Adhere to the 20-second rule when you are washing your hands.
- Regularly use anti-bacterial hand sanitiser.
- Use disposable gloves when you are handling goods.
- Keep the requisite distance while you are out with others.
- Wear a mask and cover your mouth while sneezing.
Because truck drivers are considered to be essential workers, the Road Haulage Association has been working directly with the Public Health England in order to grant truck drivers the requisite access to both toilets and facilities for hand washing at the different distribution centres located throughout the UK. You can utilise the UK Haulier live truck stop finder in order to find these centres during these unprecedented times.