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Slowly expanding economies across the UK and Europe are putting more strain on a haulage sector that has been struggling since last summer to keep up. The two biggest concerns are the obvious lack of company drivers and what appears to be an unwillingness among many in the industry to adopt technology that saves money and increase safety.

All of us in the industry are acutely aware of the driver shortage. It has been estimated by several industry groups to be somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 drivers. The industry is attempting to put a serious dent in the shortage through a combination of education, marketing, and lobbying the government to assist with financing. However, what about technology?

A recent straw poll conducted by the Freight Transportation Association showed some surprising results:

The numbers are both surprising and somewhat discouraging. Technology has come a long way in just the last 5 to 10 years. There are so many new things available that could make our industry so much safer and more efficient. As just one example, consider a smartphone app that can be used to conduct daily walkaround checks.

When a smartphone replaces paper, fleet managers have real-time access to information on every vehicle in their fleets. They know, at all times, whether drivers are following the rules for inspections or not. As for the drivers themselves, having a smartphone app at their fingertips reduces the likelihood that they will forget certain items or fail to notify the dispatcher of a problem in a timely manner.

Utilising Modern Telematics

Modern telematics is another technology area in need of improvement. Rather than limiting data streams only to driver hours recorded by tachograph equipment, companies should be pursuing telematics installations that can provide a virtual library of data to be used to drive all sorts of future decisions. Telematics can track fuel usage, miles driven, route efficiency, engine performance, and so much more. It can even be coupled with video feeds and software in a way that can both reduce accidents and prevent unwarranted insurance claims.

It is true that the shortage of company drivers is having a profound effect on the haulage industry. It is also true that most companies in the industry do not recognise the positive impact technology can have on their operations. It seems we need to put as much energy into promoting technology as we are in recruiting new drivers.

The HGV Training Centre recognises our responsibility to continue training the best company drivers we can. We take great pride in our proven training programmes that prepare our students to pass their tests on the first try. In fact, our first-try pass rate for the theory test is 92%. You can start your training by contacting us.


MHWM – http://mhwmagazine.co.uk/Road-transport-industry-slow-to-adopt-technology,-poll-shows.html


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