UK driver shortage growing at 50 a day

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The UK’s driver shortage is growing at 50 drivers a day, according to a new study by the International Road Transport Union.

The IRU surveyed organisations across Europe and found that a visible driver shortage of 21 per cent in freight transport and 19 per cent in the bus and coach sector.

And the problem is accelerating – the shortfall is predicted to reach 40 per cent as demand grows in 2019.

The IRU identified a number of reasons for the shortage. More than three quarters of drivers believe working conditions and the long periods away from home deter many from entering the profession.

Four out of five driver believe that that the difficulty in attracting women is one of the top reasons for the shortage.

The average age of drivers in freight transport is 44. Some 70 per cent of drivers aged 25-34 believe the difficulty of attracting young drivers is also a top reason.

The IRU said that in the UK, the country’s exit from the European Union is arriving just as its shortage of drivers is estimated to be growing at a rate of 50 drivers per day.

And the average driver age in Germany is now over 47, meaning that some 40 per cent of the truck and 55 per cent of bus driver workforce is expected to retire by 2027, creating a shortfall of around 185,000 drivers.

Boris Blanche, IRU’s managing director said: “The transport industry needs to take immediate and decisive action to tackle the driver shortage. Left unchecked, it will have serious implications for the European economy and lead to rising costs for businesses, consumers and passengers.”

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