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There is a common and pervasive myth in the UK that suggests increased lorry traffic is the leading cause of congestion on our local roads and motorways. The myth is so pervasive that a recent report from the Institute of Mechanical Engineering lays the blame for fast-rising congestion squarely at the feet of the average lorry driver who, they claim, is causing a problem by driving an empty vehicle.

As you can imagine, the haulage and transport industries have responded to the report with a combination of incredulity and frustration. Companies and industry groups alike recognise that the report’s claim that congestion is ‘rising fast because almost a third of lorries are being driven empty’ is utter nonsense.

The Freight Haulage Association (FHA) is leading the charge against the report with facts that clearly demonstrate how erroneous it is. In official remarks, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said that “the number of lorries on our roads has hardly changed over many years; nor has empty running, much of which is inevitable, as the report concedes.”

Statistics clearly show that lorries make up less than 2% of the 35 million vehicles on our roads. To say that the average lorry driver is a leading cause of traffic congestion because his trailer may not be full just does not align with the facts. Burnett is absolutely correct in his assertion that the number of lorries and vans on UK roads has not increased significantly in quite a few years, as compared to the number of cars, which have risen dramatically.

We Are Not the Enemy

It is truly unfortunate that the industry has to address these kinds of things so routinely. But the reality is that the haulage and transport industries are frequently targeted as the enemy whenever government or advocacy groups decide they want to try to fix something relating to traffic or infrastructure.

The facts clearly prove that we are not the enemy. Your average lorry driver is a responsible person who goes to work, earns a living, pays the bills, and supports a family. The haulage industry as a whole is largely responsible and works hard to contribute to road safety and efficiency.

We do not dispute the problems that exist on our roads. But we are unwilling to accept the majority of the blame for them. The entire haulage industry plays a critical role in keeping our economy moving by transporting as much as 70% of all the freight that moves around the UK. Furthermore, the hard work of the average lorry driver is that which makes it possible for the rest of us to enjoy the steady supply of affordable consumer goods most people take for granted.

Our roads are becoming more congested with every passing year. But the blame for that does not belong to the lorry driver or his/her employer. Rather than blaming the haulage industry, let us focus our energies on discovering the real causes and addressing them.

Sources:

HGV UK – http://www.hgvuk.com/latest-road-report-astonishes-road-haulage-sector/

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