In a release to press persons recently, Unite union strongly persuaded a prioritization of Government policies to make limits on driving hours of HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicles) drivers. In a bid to better the quality of Lorries plying the highways, Unite also urged the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) to standardize their infrastructure.
This comes after an announcement by the Government to allow a speed limit of 80mph as against the existing 70mph on the highways. Reacting to this sanction, Unite’s National Officer for Road Transport, Matt Draper, said that already the number of highway accidents is going up – 8 deaths and many more injuries of which 3 were lorry drivers. Added to the fact that haulage industry competitiveness was driving companies to goad their lorry drivers to the very edge of legal driving hours, the situation is leading to a potentially hazardous one, he commented.
As it is, drivers were working 45 hours per week (90 in a 2-week span) and per day 9 hours stretched to 10 hours twice a week is the permissible time. Drivers could be asked to drive only for 15 hours in a day with a minimum rest of 45 minutes every 4-5 hours. These are the legal limits and to these limits, drivers are being compelled while their terms are gradually deteriorating.
Mr. Matt Draper warned that conditions of the drivers, if not looked into would contribute to potentially dangerous situations, he advised that the Government prioritize HGV timings to minimize accidents!