As we are all aware, the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has swept across the world at unprecedented rates. Although Governments in Europe and all over the world have implemented police-enforced lockdown and social distancing measures, truck drivers have a critical role to play in society – particularly those who deliver essential goods, like medicine and food. Daily, truck drivers are at great risk of contracting this virus and possibly spreading it to people they come into contact with while they are working, in addition to family members. With all of that mind, those who have passed their HGV training might wonder how all this affects their work. This article will be exploring and consolidating the advice, rules, and changes that industry senior management and governing bodies have been implementing and advocating recently. Our goal is to make sure you are well-protected and well-informed when you take to the roads during these very hard times.
Are Truck Drivers Considered to be Key Workers?
Truck drivers, along with food industry workers, school teachers and NSH staff, are considered to be essential during this current pandemic. Gov.co.uk states that truck drivers delivering goods like veterinary care, food, and medicine are considered to be key workers.
Hour Rule Changes for Drivers
As the demand for essential goods, like medicine and food, has increased, there has been an increased demand for truck drivers as well to deliver those goods. The Department for Transport has therefore relaxed its previous regulations on the driving hours for lorry drivers to help support and keep up with the demand for goods during the current pandemic. However, these changes won’t affect road safety or driver welfare. Here are the changes:
- A 45-minute break can now be taken after 5.5 hours of driving instead of 4.5 hours;
- Fortnightly driving limits were increased from 90 hours to 96 hours;
- Weekly driving limits were increased from 56 hours to 60 hours;
- Daily rest requirements were reduced from 11 hours a day down to 9 hours;
- The EU driving limit was extended from 9 hours a day to 11 hours.
It is critical to adhere to these new rules to prevent fatigue and accidents as a result. The Department for Transport has made it very clear that there should be no compromises to driver safety. Drivers cannot be expected to drive when they are tired. Employers are still responsible for the safety and health of road users and their employees.
Following Hygiene Safety When Out on the Road
In recent weeks, the government has released a series of guidelines that should be followed by the public to prevent Coronavirus from spreading. However, it can be harder to follow some of these guidelines on the road.
- Catch any sneezes and coughs in a tissue and then throw it straight away;
- Keep a distance of at least two metres from other people while out of their trucks;
- Avoid touching their face;
- Use disposable gloves when handling goods or refuelling;
- Wash their hands for at least twenty seconds or frequently use an anti-bacterial gel.
Since truck drivers are considered to be key workers during the pandemic, the Road Haulage Association and Public Health England have been working together to make sure that truck drivers are allowed access to handwashing facilities and toilets at distribution centres across the UK. There is a live truckstop finder on UK Haulier that could benefit you during this time.