It might seem like an obvious solution to an apparently intractable problem, but the penny has finally dropped that women make just as good HGV drivers as men.
Two parallel and partnered campaigns – one called “HerGV” and the other “She’s RHA” – have been launched to make just that point and to encourage still more women to join the ranks of professional lorry drivers.
They are campaigns likely to be welcomed throughout the haulage industry – since properly qualified females make just as competent drivers as their male colleagues, and, of course, gender makes not a jot of difference to the lorry insurance that is needed.
Addressing a pressing problem
For a number of years now, representative bodies for the haulage industry have viewed with increasing alarm the growing shortage of qualified HGV drivers. A large proportion of older drivers are now approaching retirement age and their numbers are not being replaced by younger replacements. The likes of Generation Y do not seem to be attracted to the profession, the problem is further heightened as it is expected that 40,000 drivers are to leave the industry, this year alone.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA), for example, points to official statistics which suggest that as many as 1.2 million additional workers need to be attracted to the haulage industry by the year 2022, in order to keep the industry sustained for the future.
With this being said, only 1% of professional HGV drivers are women, the RHA has launched its campaign – aptly named She’s RHA – to attract women to driving jobs and to promote much wider acceptance of women behind the wheels of large goods vehicles.
In a move echoing, and in partnership with the RHA, Midland Expressway Ltd, owners of the M6 Toll, have also launched a campaign on the 23rd of June 2017 called HerGV, reports the local Birmingham Mail.
Although their numbers are still relatively few, the BBC has already recounted the first-hand experiences of life on the road for one female professional driver.
The combination of press coverage and industry campaigning is getting across the message that driving one of today’s HGVs requires more brain power than brawn and that more facilities, such as women-only toilets and washrooms are needed.
Insurance and Training
Since the end of 2012, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice, insurance companies – including those in the UK – may no longer discriminate on the basis of gender, with proposals for lorry insurance, as with all other forms of motor insurance, being treated in the same way for women as for men.
Although gender may not be taken into account, haulage insurance brokers are able to advise what other factors are likely to be considered by any potential insurer – factors such as the insured’s history of motoring convictions and past insurance claims, age, driving experience and the category of heavy goods vehicle they intend to drive.
As far as training women for a career as a professional HGV driver, however, training company, HGV/LGV Training Courses, is in no doubt that a female candidate stands as good of a chance qualifying for their HGV licence, as a man.