At this year’s Conservative Party Conference, the Road Haulage Association (RHA; @RHANews) is giving delegates the chance to take part in a Truck Driving Challenge at their stand, 53.
Challengers will be able to see if they have the high skill levels required to drive a heavy goods vehicle. The RHA is calling for all MPs and delegates to take part in a ‘Top Gear’ style challenge on a simulator, based on a typical 18-tonne urban delivery truck’s journey through London. Unlike Top Gear, safe, smooth, fuel efficient driving is the key to success. The RHA has already invited David Cameron and Mayor for London Boris Johnson to take part and set a time.
Stephen Hammond MP (Wimbledon) and industry supporter Robert Goodwill MP (Scarborough and Whitby) have already taken the challenge and the simulator appointment book is rapidly filling. Book your slot now before they are all taken!
The smooth, safe time to beat is 4 minutes and 51 seconds, set by the industry’s very own ‘Stig’, Allan Marsh. Allan won the Microlise Driver of the Year competition against a field of over 90,000 drivers using Microlise’s own telematics software. But this is not a race! Like all the HGV Heroes currently on the road, challengers must drive with an emphasis on safety, consideration for other road users and to maximise fuel economy, without incurring penalties such as hitting barriers, pedestrians or exceeding the speed limit. But, as with all competitions, a high score can always be broken!
Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “This initiative represents just part of our campaign to raise awareness of RHA National Lorry Week (26-31 October). This will boost the profile of this vital industry with the general public, schoolchildren and college leavers, as well as those looking for a change of career.
“The economy is facing a massive driver shortage and it’s vitally important that we push the issue up the political agenda. I am confident that giving MPs the opportunity to get a feel for the skills needed to drive an HGV will go a long way to raising awareness, capturing their interest and ultimately, getting the acknowledgement and financial help that we so desperately need. There has to be a u-turn on Government’s repeated refusal to accept an HGV driver apprenticeship and we are pressing this issue with Skills Minister Nick Bowles. Will he be brave enough to take our driving challenge, I wonder?
“Last weekend Silverstone racing circuit saw the inauguration of the RHA HGV Heroes ad campaign (#HGVHeroes; #DriverShortage; www.hgvheroes.com), sponsored by Dunlop. British Touring Car Championship contender and RHA-sponsored Tom Ingram drove a 44 tonne HGV tractor unit around the track following his own rigorous HGV training process.
“Haulage and logistics is an exciting and dynamic industry in which to forge a career and the RHA is doing all it can to encourage new entrants into the industry. Drivers, technicians, warehouse operatives: the jobs are there just waiting for the right people. The more challengers we can get to come along to put their driving skills to the test, the better.”
“We are also confident that we could be giving many of our challengers food for thought should their circumstances ever change.”