6 Myths about the Future of HGV Driving in 2020 (and beyond!)
What will the future of HGV driving look like?
HGV driving is an essential part of every product-based business. Products need to get from factories to warehouses, to stores, and finally to customer doors and HGV drivers are a vital part of this logistical process.
When it comes to considering the future of the industry though, one has to wonder what kind of changes will happen, and will they be for the best, or to the detriment of the driving industry?
In this article, we explore 6 myths about the future of HGV driving in 2020 and beyond.
Myth 1: HGV trucks will become outdated
Technology is developing faster and faster. We’ve gone from massive desktop computers with dial-up, to having supercomputers and high-resolution digital cameras in our pockets, all in less than 20 years.
It wasn’t that long ago that electric cars were a thing of myth, and now drone technology is making it possible for the likes of Amazon to deliver packages remotely to your door.
The likes of Uber are dreaming up an entirely new public transport system using eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) vehicles.
With events like these unfolding, it’s unsurprising that some people have looked at HGV drivers and can’t find a place for them in their visions of the future.
Surely, they think, there must be a better more economical way to transport goods?
The simple answer though, is that if there is, it hasn’t even been imagined yet. If anything, there are more trucks on the roads than ever before, and HGV drivers are in ever-increasing demand.
And the fact of the matter is, with our current infrastructure this will remain the truth for the foreseeable future.
Myth 2: The future of HGV driving is male
HGV driving has historically been a male-dominated industry. However, that’s not necessarily going to be the case going forward. More and more women are stepping into the role.
Increasing demand for skilled drivers – with better working conditions and (depending on your employer) good pay – makes this an appealing career route for men and woman alike.
There are more women working as HGV drivers today than at any other time in history, and there’s no reason why this trend would suddenly revert.
In fact, quite the contrary, as demands increase and more women take on the job, we can quite imagine a future where the ratio of drivers is much closer to 50:50. According to a Freedom of Information request we submitted 18 months ago, only 6% of current C & C+E licence holders were female – and of those many may not be active within the industry.
Myth 3: Robots will replace drivers
Incredible strides are being made in driverless car technology. And some industry leaders are investing heavily in this technology.
However, as a technology, it’s still years away (at best) from having a practical application in private vehicles, let alone applied to commercial vehicles like HGVs.
On top of this, new technology is, more often than not, prohibitively expensive, meaning that only the largest logistics companies would be able to begin to implement this technology for some time.
Thirdly, for the sake of safety and consumer concerns, we are unlikely to see completely driverless cars or, for that matter, HGVs on the road for some time.
It would require the entire road network to be completely updated (by the same people who are struggling to stick a new train line between London and Birmingham). Unlikely.
More likely will be an increase in driver assistance features which will aim to make the roads safer and driving easier and more energy efficient.
We’ve already seen the introduction of automatic braking systems, lane warning systems, adaptive cruise control and various other gizmos. Granted they aren’t perfect, but they show the direction of travel (pun intended!).
Myth 4: Automation will reduce drivers pay
Automation has already changed many other industries.
However, what it hasn’t done is push pay down for those workers. The kind of tasks done by automation in those industries are the repetitive tasks that take up a huge amount of time.
The introduction of automation allows workers to focus on more challenging and higher-value tasks. This additional value addition from workers often comes with improved promotional prospects for higher-paying roles.
Instead of reducing drivers pay then, we would argue that automation will help streamline a number of aspects of a driver’s life, for example, route planning, loading/unloading etc.
All of this can quickly add up to dramatically improving a driver’s working experience, making their days more efficient and less stressful. And who knows – if things improve sufficiently, we could even see a shorter working week!
Myth 5: You’ll need more and harder qualifications
There are strict laws guiding a driver’s qualification and ability to drive on the roads in a professional capacity.
The reasons behind this are to improve road safety for both the drivers and others on the roads.
For example, Driver CPC qualifications were introduced in 2008 and 2009. This qualification added an additional layer of expense and is another thing for drivers to worry about.
Increased regulation, though, isn’t put into place at random or for the purposes of squeezing a few extra coins out of workers, but rather to improve the working conditions and safety of those workers.
It’s highly unlikely, as (if) we begin life on the outside of the EU, that we suddenly see the introduction of more difficult qualifications.
Myth 6: Driver CPC will be scrapped after Brexit
With Brexit still forever looming in our futures, how, or even whether, Britain adapts its rules for HGV drivers remains to be seen.
Most likely the UK will continue to keep existing qualifications in line with European laws and regulations. This will keep the friction between the countries to a minimum and so improve efficiency when it comes to international freight and trade.
There is a chance that the qualifications international drivers need will change post-Brexit. However, for the purposes of practical trade agreements with Europe the UK government will want to show compliance with EU laws and regulations.
As such, there are unlikely to be any wild or dramatic changes to the UK laws and regulations governing HGV drivers after Brexit.
There are lots of exciting things going on that could impact the future of the logistics industry.
Some change is inevitable. However, change is often a good thing and we are pretty excited to see what comes next.
If you’re interested in finding out more about an HGV driving career why not take our test here?