16th March 2022

Are truck drivers misrepresented in the media?

News stories make a habit of painting truck drivers in a negative light. The notion that lorry drivers are unskilled operators with a lack of concern for road safety can often appear in the media, and stories like the ones below do not do much to change the opinion: 


 
This article will explore the importance of the industry and discover why the media has an unfair representation of HGV (heavy goods vehicles) drivers.  
 

Dangerous lorry driving: A vicious rumour? 

According to gov.uk data, the number of HGVs (heavy goods vehicles) involved in road transport accidents has decreased by 50.54% since 2014. Additionally, road safety statistics indicate that cars were responsible for over 150,000 more road accidents than HGVs in 2019.  
 
Despite its controversial reputation, drivers must complete 35 hours of CPC training every five years to maintain driving standards and improve road safety. Drivers are also regularly drug and alcohol tested to ensure they are fit to drive. Plus, they will have consistent monitoring of their black boxes and tachographs.  
 
The extensive and consistent HGV training helps truck drivers be among the safest drivers on the roads - refuting the dangerous driving rumours.  
 

Is the importance of truck drivers downplayed? 

According to domestic road freight statistics from 2020, GB-registered HGVs operating in the UK moved 1.27 billion tonnes of cargo and contributed £13.6 billion to the UK economy. These facts prove the importance of HGV drivers, and we need to dispel the myths about the industry.  


 
However, the negative stereotypes of truck drivers may not be as widespread as you think. Volvo launched a survey in 2017 to find out what Brits thought about truck drivers. Of the 2,095 adults quizzed, 92% said they, “recognised the role lorries play in the smooth running of everyday life.” While 96% agreed that driving an HGV “requires significant skill and training and that driving ability varies from country to country.” 
 

Are haulage good deeds overlooked?  

Truck drivers and haulage have become increasingly prominent in the media, but not always for the right reasons. However, the recent humanitarian efforts to help Ukrainians in need demonstrate the selfless attitudes within the industry. Truck drivers from throughout the UK have collected aid and driven over 1,400 miles to help fleeing refugees at the Poland-Ukraine border.  
 
Industry good deeds happen regularly, but they are not always shared in the media - leading to negative connotations about truck drivers. If the public read more articles about industry acts of kindness, it could go a long way to changing negative perceptions.  
 

What about the industry gender divide?  

The HGV driving sector is notoriously male-dominated - making up 99% of employed UK truck drivers in 2020. However, closing the gender gap could be the answer to solving the national driver shortage.  
 
Female role models, such as Jodi Smith - an HGV driver from Hertfordshire, are using social media to promote the profession to other females in a bid to entice more ladies into the industry. Jodi says truck driving is a "fantastic job," and highly recommends it to other females. 


 

Conclusion 

The evidence suggests that negative truck driving incidents are in the minority, but unfortunately, these are the stories that make their way into the media. These articles encourage unfavourable perceptions of truck drivers. But truck drivers are safe on the roads, go out of their way to help others, and are essential to society.  

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