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When the Conservative Party Conference opens in Manchester early next week (October 4, 2015), MPs will be introduced to an exhibitor who would be considered unusual for this the type of gathering. That exhibitor is the Road Haulage Association (RHA), a leading industry trade group representing companies in the haulage and logistics sector. The RHA will be there promoting the upcoming National Lorry Week while also challenging MPs to test their truck driving skills.

Part of the RHA exhibit will be a truck-driving simulator usually used to train new drivers. The idea of bringing the simulator is twofold. First, the RHA intends to use it to demonstrate to conference attendees the incredible amount of knowledge and skill necessary to be a successful and safe lorry driver. Second, they intend to challenge MPs and other attendees to try to break the record score set by Microlise Driver of the Year winner Alan Marsh. Marsh has been affectionately dubbed ‘The Stig’ of the truck-driving world.

Reality Check: Changing Minds

There is little doubt that the RHA is attending the Conservative Party Conference as part of its ongoing effort to convince the government to get more involved in promoting commercial driver training. We all know the haulage and transport industries is short tens of thousands of drivers, with forecasters saying the problem will only get worse. The RHA knows this too. For them, bringing the simulator to the conference is a stroke of genius.

What must be understood is that truck driving has long been viewed as a career choice for people who are incapable of doing anything else. The assumption is that because so many of us drive cars, just about anybody could drive an HGV for a living. It is nothing more than translating what we already do every day to a vehicle that is a bit larger. Sitting behind the wheel of the simulator will act as a reality check to change that perception.

We fully expect that the vast majority of non-professionals attempting to break Marsh’s record in the simulator will be shocked to find out just how difficult truck driving is. With any luck, the MPs who try their hand at simulated driving will come away with a new appreciation for both the skills of professional drivers and the quality of the training they receive. Hopefully, they will also be motivated to finally take real action to help the haulage and logistics industries.

We will keep an eye on the news wires to see just what happens in Manchester during the conference. It will be interesting to see if anyone can break the record set by Alan Marsh. As for the Microlise Driver of the Year, he had to do better than 90,000 drivers from around the country.

Regardless of the outcome in Manchester the HGV Training Centre remains committed to offering the best truck driving training in the UK. We can train you for a long and rewarding career.



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