Sadly, Coronavirus has impacted almost every single part of the world and it shows no signs of letting up. Governments not only here in Europe are making sweeping changes but those across the globe are as well to slow down the virus and make the world a little safer until an antidote can be found. Truck drivers have found themselves in the situation of being more vital to the globe than ever before. Each day, truck drivers across the world are putting their lives and the lives of their families and friends at risk to bring essential supplies to hospitals, restaurants and stores.
Considering this, experts at Surrey and Hampshire HGV Training have decided to create a post to help truck drivers know and understand many of the sweeping changes that are happening in the industry just within the past weeks. We want to ensure that you are safe on the road and protected throughout these difficult and confusing times.
Are Truck Drivers Considered to be Essential Workers?
Truck drivers, in addition to teachers, food industry workers, and NHS staff, are all considered to be essential throughout the pandemic. Truck drivers who are delivering food, medicine and other essential items are key workers to the United Kingdom.
Current Changes to Hours
With the essential need for foods and medicines to be delivered throughout the UK, there has been an ever-growing need for truck drivers on the roads. With the current state of affairs, the Department of Transport has decided to relax certain regulation on the hours a driver can be on the road to keep up with the current demand of supplies while at the same time ensuring truck drivers, as well as other motorists, remain safe. The changes are as follows:
- The EU driving time has been extended to 11 hours per day.
- There has been a reduction in the number of rest hours needed to 9 hours per day.
- Weekly driving limits have been raised from 56 hours to 60 hours.
- Fortnightly driving limits were changed from 90 to 96 hours.
- Drivers should take a 45-minute break after 5.5 hours of driving instead of the traditional 4.5.
These are all essential changes that must be followed to prevent driver fatigue and highway accidents. The Department of Transport has made it clear that driver safety is an absolute must even in these difficult times. Drivers should not be expected to maintain a vehicle while tired and exhausted and it is still the responsibility of the employer to ensure their employees are safe on the road.
Proper Hygiene Safety While on the Road
There have been multiple guidelines released for the general public to remain safe during this pandemic and some of these guidelines can be slightly more difficult to follow for truck drivers.
There are several ways that drivers can follow these guidelines and flatten the curve while on their shift:
- Be sure to wash hands for a total of at least twenty seconds and use anti-bacterial gel as often as possible.
- When stopping to refuel or purchase food, use disposable gloves.
- Try to avoid touching your face as much as possible.
- When out of the truck keep a two-meter distance from others.
- Try your best to sneeze or cough directly into a tissue and dispose of it quickly and correctly.
Being that truck drivers are considered essential throughout the United Kingdom, Road Haulage Association has been working with Public Health England to provide access to clean toilets and handwashing stations throughout their routes and distribution stations. To ensure your safety and others throughout the United Kingdom, UK Haulier has provided a live truckstop finder for your convenience that can be downloaded at this time.