By Gary Benardout of HGVtraining.co.uk

From plumbers to florists and tech start-ups to supermarkets…almost all types of business rely on road logistics in one way or another. HGVs and LGVs are a vital component of UK commerce, and without them the economy would likely grind to a halt.

And yet these vital vehicles have an uneasy relationship with the British public who view them as noisy and, in particular, dangerous. Road safety is of course a complex issue with no ‘easy’ answer. What I do know is that so much more can be done to make the streets, roads and motorways of Britain could be safer for us all. The recently launched Safer Lorry Scheme is a good start, but more needs to be done and for me, it starts with training.

The fact is there are currently too many under-trained HGV drivers on our roads and this increases the likelihood of accidents. In my view more needs to be done to encourage businesses to train their drivers to the highest standard, not just as a one-off, but continually, as a way to raise the bar for overall road safety in the UK.

One objection I often hear is that driver training can be costly. While I would strongly argue that this isn’t necessarily the case, the good news is that there are also significant business benefits to having a highly-qualified fleet. If you need any more encouragement for arranging further training for your drivers, consider the following:

  1. It makes your drivers more efficient. This makes them more able to make deliveries on time, keeping customers happy.
  2. It’s an excellent tool for winning new business. Having the best drivers will make you stand out from the competition, enhancing your reputation for providing the best service. This is absolutely vital in a world where multiple businesses are competing for the same contract.
  3. It broadens your new business horizons. The more diverse your fleet’s skill-set, the more types of contracts you will be able to bid for.
  4. It keeps your drivers happy. Offering strong career progression opportunities also gives your drivers a stronger sense of job satisfaction, making them happier, more loyal and more likely to develop their career with you.
  5. It can reduce operation costs. Well-trained drivers use less fuel, which is not only good for the environment, but also saves a great deal on fuel costs. Similarly, because your drivers are less likely to be involved in an accident, insurance premiums and repair/replacement costs are likely to be lower.
  6. It gives you peace of mind. Accidents and collisions are bad publicity and could cost you even if it wasn’t your driver’s fault. Having the best drivers around means you could avoid a damaged reputation, and even expensive legal proceedings suit.
The UK is currently facing an HGV driver skills gap. With an estimated 60,000 new drivers needed in the next five years, you can expect an influx of lesser trained drivers hitting the roads. This is a big opportunity for firms that employ top notch drivers to really stand out from the competition.

The benefits are not only safer roads, but stronger growth.