“Dangerous and foolhardy” – relaxation of drivers’ hours extended until 3 October

The government has extended the temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours rules in the UK until October, in a move criticised by the industry as not making “any material difference” to the driver shortage.

The Department for Transport said the extension reflected “the exceptional circumstances arising from the cumulative impacts of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and an acute shortage of drivers of heavy goods vehicles, which adversely affect the carriage of goods by road, causing acute supply chain pressures.”

However, the RHA said the relaxation, until 3 October, wouldn’t fix the lack of available HGV drivers, but a package of short and long term measures could resolve the issue.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said: “We reiterate that extending drivers’ hours can be counterproductive by making the job less attractive, especially at a time when firms are struggling to recruit and retain staff.

“Drivers’ hours regulations were originally devised on safety grounds to ensure that drivers were not put in the position of driving for excessive periods of time.

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