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Key challenges facing the haulage industry in 2019

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Posted on 2nd Jul, 2019 by Charlotte Coop

Advancements in vehicle safety technology and vehicle safety products in recent years have resulted in great strides forward for the haulage industry. However, modern fleet managers still face a number of significant challenges to their business, ranging from efficiency and economics concerns to crucial safety issues. The good news, though, is that there are several measures they can take to mitigate these issues – we’ve listed some of the key ones below!

Driver shortage in the UK

Many of the most pressing challenges that UK fleet managers currently face undeniably revolve around the increasing shortage of qualified drivers in the UK. Recent figures estimate the industry needs an additional 75,000 drivers to fully get up to capacity. This is a particularly acute challenge for the haulage industry, which is perceived by some drivers to be less desirable than other types of HGV driving. Partially because of this, many haulage industries can sometimes struggle to fill vacancies.

And while Brexit is widely regarded as having a less dramatic impact here than it is in other industries, it still has some bearing on the minds of some fleet managers, who may be anticipating some of their European drivers moving abroad in the wake of the leave. However, many companies may be able to mitigate this by placing a keen focus on attracting, encouraging and training younger generations of drivers, while ensuring that experienced employees are well supported.

Strict schedules and driver tiredness

Partially as a result of the driver shortage, many experienced drivers are under increasing pressure to complete their schedules and make deliveries. Tight deadlines and greater numbers of deliveries for individual drivers can result in stress due to the rush, often impacting onto their breaks and designated rest times. Unlike the driver shortage, this is something that companies can (and should) exercise a lot more direct control over, first and foremost by ensuring that designated rest times are strictly adhered to.

Rising fuel costs

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This is an increasing concern for all road users, but particularly tangible for fleet managers, as it’s by far the highest day-to-day operating cost of company fleets. Over Easter 2019, the cost of fuel reached a five-year seasonal high, making it a bigger cost than ever. While the broader economic factors are out of fleet manager control, here again telematics technologies like those we offer here at Vision Techniques can be particularly useful, as they can provide valuable tools for fleet managers to monitor their drivers, and ensure that breaks are taken when they need to be. What’s more though, telematics can also help them to work out more efficient routes, taking some of the time pressure off drivers. Routes can be planned more effectively, making substantial savings on fuel costs.

Dangers to cyclists

Cycling use has been steadily on the rise in recent years here in the UK. Unfortunately though, we’ve also seen a rise in the numbers of cyclists who are injured on British roads. 18,477 cyclists were injured in 2016 alone, with almost 3,500 of them being seriously injured or killed. A large proportion of HGVs are involved in these fatal accidents; their large size and weight make them exceptionally dangerous to vulnerable cyclists, and this is complicated by the fact that the drivers’ cabs are elevated high off the ground, making blind spots a lot larger than they would be on other vehicles.

To mitigate these dangers, fleet managers can equip their vehicles with an array of cyclist detection systems to give drivers clear and unavoidable warnings about when there is a physical danger to the most vulnerable road users.

Here at Vision Techniques, we’re dedicated to developing and providing new technologies to help fleet managers overcome these difficulties, setting up their business for future success. Safety is an especially important focus for us, and we’ve recently had our StopSafe system approved by the VCA. You can find out more about it using the link, or give us a call on 01254 679 717, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help!