The UK is currently suffering a shortage of over 100,000 qualified lorry drivers. This is having a very direct effect on all of us, as you can probably tell by the desolate isles in the normally fully stocked Supermarkets. The lack of lorry drivers is preventing essential goods, such as food and petrol, from being delivered to our local shops and supermarkets.


Why is this shortage happening?

The shortage of lorry drivers is due to a number of reasons, many young drivers had their lorry driving test cancelled, due to restrictions put in place for Covid, and this meant that a huge number of people that would normally be steadily replacing the drivers that have had to retire, weren’t able to become qualified lorry drivers. Another factor is Brexit. Drivers from the EU made up a significant proportion of the total lorry drivers in the UK, and due to Brexit, and not being able to come to and from the UK during Covid, many have opted to stay in their home countries. According to the RHA, the average age for HGV drivers is 55, while less than 1% are aged under 25. This means that the number of drivers that are retiring now or will do in the very near future is quite considerable. 


Not only has the shortage of lorry drivers induced panic among most people as our everyday essentials are lacking, it has also led to an increase in crime as people have started stealing petrol straight from people’s cars. In a recent situation, a mum from Erith had petrol stolen straight out of her car in broad daylight, after holes were drilled into the bottom of her petrol tank. Situations like this are being reported more and more frequently as the panic of not having enough petrol to last a journey to from and from work is starting to become more of a concern for many people.


When talking to sky news, Rod McKenzie, from the Road Haulage Association, described the situation as a ‘cocktail of chaos’.


Do I think the issue will soon be resolved?

I don’t think that the shortage of HGV drivers will be repaired in the near future, as even though young drivers are currently able to become qualified HGV drivers, the number that is lacking due to too many people retiring, and or leaving the country, can't be made up by the number of new drivers.


In conclusion, I personally don't think we should be worried, because we still have lorry drivers, and even though the number is limited, there is still enough for everyone to have the amount of supplies delivered that we actually need, proving people would stop panic buying and purchasing unnecessary amounts of precious commodities, such as petrol, as many people have now started filling up empty cannisters with as much petrol as they can. If anything, this crisis could teach us as a nation to be more sustainable and only purchase what we need and when we need it, as at the end of the day, having less lorries being driven around is actually quite good for the environment in the long term.






(Photo provided by martini)