2015 was an eventful year for the trucking industry with fuel duty fluctuations, talk of a rush hour ban and the Calais crisis. Truckers across the UK haven’t had it easy over the last 12 months.
As providers of truck insurance we’re intrigued to look forward what 2016 has in store for the haulage industry. That is exactly what this blog is about – looking into the future!
News of the refugees in Calais went global, affecting not just UK drivers but drivers across the world. This is a truly awful situation, but is it looking to improve in 2016?
Well, with the work starting on a ‘humanitarian camp’ we hope so. The camp will accommodate up to 1,500 migrants. This figure may seem low but Frans Timmermans, the European Commission Vice President said: “We will never turn away those who need protection.”
So here’s hoping things are going to improve.
The beginning of 2016 is set to bring low petrol prices with Iran re-entering the market. However, it doesn’t look like this will last long. As April approaches the spending review indicates an increase in fuel duty which is set to last until 2020! For more information on petrol prices take a look at our Petrol Price Index.
Rush Hour Ban
November 2015 saw the beginning of an ongoing debate – whether or not lorries should be allowed on London roads during rush hour.
The conversation began after shocking statistics were released showing seven out of eight cyclists deaths on the streets of London were due to a truck. Although the statistics look bleak the FTA (Freight Transport Association) are still trying to argue their case – but with over 13,000 people signing a petition to ban lorries during London rush hour the odds seem to be stacked against them.
Is there another answer? Well, according to the Department for Transport, human error is a factor in 76% of all road accidents involving heavy goods vehicles. This isn’t to say that the training or skills of lorry drivers are in question, but rather the design of the vehicle itself. There are several blind spots around a large commercial vehicle which cause problems for drivers, especially now there are more cyclists are on the roads.
Which brings us to the next topic in 2016: automated vehicles. Could eliminating human error be the answer?
It seems that self-driving vehicles are on the rise; even Ford will begin testing them in 2016. Although its short-term effect on the haulage industry looks to be minimal, 2016 could see the beginning of a big change.
Back in September 2015, research undertaken by AXA UK suggested that driverless vehicles could save the haulage industry up to £47.5bn within 10 years.
If the shift to self-driving trucks happens, it could also save the average UK household £150 a year. In the long term the change could even lower car insurance premiums.
It would appear the pros of autonomous trucks outweigh the cons, so we could see much more testing in 2016.
Shortage in HGV Drivers
Warnings from the Road Haulage Association that the shortage of HGV drivers could affect the economy should have been enough to encourage a mention in the last budget. However, this failed to happen and as a result it would appear that the situation is set to get worse in 2016.
So what’s the answer? Is it to create an educational campaign advertising the positives of working in the industry to younger generations? Given the fact that an average articulated lorry driver earns £30,000 a year this may be enough to encourage people to gain their licence and join the industry.