HGV driver slams ‘ridiculous’ checks ahead of journey
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Driver Helen Crighton’s workday was documented by Channel 4 News to better understand the working life of an HGV driver in the UK amid the labour shortages. But Helen ran into an issue only a few minutes into her journey as her cargo of cream-filled donuts required a vet’s approval before it was sent to the European Union because there were animal products inside. Channel 4 also documented her journey which saw huge delays because of the checks, rejection from motorway services because they were full of trucks and reports some drivers see their diesel stolen as they park up.
Helen has been a driver for 23-years and told Channel 4 News she loved the role.
She joked: “If you can’t stand weeing in a bucket then you’re in the wrong job.”
Helen starts her day at 7am and is given her timesheets and jobs for the day which involve transporting donuts to Germany.
But the driver immediately hits a problem as her cargo requires checks from a vet before she can go ahead.
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She explains the process takes a very long time and often add hours to her journey.
Brexit red tape also means the same trailer needs to be used throughout the transportation of cargo meaning she often has to change trucks.
Helen arrives at Folkestone five hours late but runs into yet another issue as the services she wants to wait in is full and is turning people away.
She tells Channel 4 News despite the demand to park up the services are horrible dirty places which are also really expensive.
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Toilets are not well kept and she explained diesel often gets stolen from trucks.
She remarked: “I hate driving in the UK.”
The obstacles mean it took Helen a day to get from Leeds to Dover as she arrives into Calais for midnight.
It also means she has to work more hours on her shift to make time because of the delays and only gets very short breaks.
She arrived in Germany two days later before returning back through the Netherlands to pick up milkshakes to bring back to the UK.
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The Road Haulage Association (RHA) says over 100,000 more HGV drivers are needed in the UK to meet demand.
The RHA say around 20,000 drivers left the UK because of “Brexit reasons” with many more Britons also leaving the sector.
A combination of the pandemic, testing backlogs and changes in labour have also been blamed for the shortfall.
The RHA also found the average age of an HGV driver is 55 with less than 1 percent under the age of 25.
Nearly 2,000 drivers are leaving the profession every week, mainly due to retirement.
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