Hundreds of HGV and bus drivers could soon be unable to work as they have been unable to secure a medical assessment needed to renew their licence. Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, has called on the Government to take urgent action to ensure that drivers do not lose their licence and to prevent a crisis in the haulage industry.
Toby said, “I have been contacted by constituents who are driving HGVs and delivering essential goods but who have been unable to get the medical assessment they need to renew their driving licence. I had been assured 3 weeks ago that the Department for Transport was aware of this situation and would be announcing revised measures, but still nothing has been announced and potentially hundreds of HGV drivers across the UK could soon be unable to drive.”
Recent figures from The Road Haulage Association (RHA) says the average age of UK HGV drivers is 56 and there was already a shortfall of 60,000 drivers before the coronavirus pandemic, which has now been exacerbated due to many drivers with Coronavirus symptoms, or having symptomatic family members, needing to self-isolate. HGV and bus drivers have to complete a D4 medical assessment every five years to ensure they are physically fit enough to continue driving large vehicles. Due to the Coronavirus, GP practices and the usual testing centres have informed drivers that they cannot complete an assessment.
Toby added, “I have contacted the Secretary of State for Transport directly now to urge them to temporarily extend existing permissions where there is no specific reason not to, to avert a potential staffing crisis in the haulage industry at a time when the delivery of food, medical equipment and other essential items is so important and cannot be delayed.”