Tom Profile picture
Jun 29, 2021 7 tweets 3 min read
Seeing news reports of a shortage of lorry drivers and a worry of empty shelves? You might be asking why.

I will try and explain a bit. Broadly, since as long as I can remember, there has been a shortage of lorry drivers. This is not a job people in the 21st century, want 1/ Image
It's hard work, the hours are long
It can be dirty, heavy manual work
It's dangerous
It's complex and highly regulated
It's bad for your health and your diet
It's bad for your family and social life
It is poorly paid, per hour, on average
The cost of entry is high

2/ Image
You could argue, wrongly, that little has changed in the profession since the 70s. This is the public perception of the role.

So British people don't want to do it, and haven't wanted to for over 20 years. This is not a new problem.

But in 2004. The EU welcomed new members
And the UK, being one of only 3 member states to do so, opened it's doors immediately to this additional labour force.

The industry was ripe for this fresh blood and work ethic, and hard working Eastern European drivers have quietly been keeping the UK industry moving ever since
But this influx of migrant workers fanned the flames of division and racism in the UK and was a useful tool to the powers that be in highlighting the immigration 'problem' and they jumped to label it a Blair legacy

The 'problem' that keeps our economy running, to be clear
Which brings us to Brexit, and the disaster that followed.

All the drivers have gone 'home', compounded with a 9 month gap in practical HGV tests being postponed due to COVID in the UK, and we may just have hit critical mass.

And yards full of trucks with no drivers. Image
And in all likelyhood you won't notice the problem because if COVID has highlighted anything, it is how good this industry is at carrying on. No fanfare

But, on a small island, everything comes by truck

Trucks need drivers. There aren't any

And we don't know how to fix it

FIN Image

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More from @thelorryist

Jan 1
I realise talking about not drinking is about as popular in the UK as a fart in a lift, particularly at this time of year

However, it is a very popular time to consider it, for obvious reasons, so here goes: 5 years ago today I stopped drinking

Here are some things I learned
Before I say anything else. It's a very difficult thing to discuss with people, still, even though it shouldn't really be.

You can see evidence of peoples reactions to such topics all over twitter today.

Normal. If you decide to stop you WILL bump up against this stuff.
Also, if you don't want to read anything else from me but would like to know where to start. Highly recommend The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by @cathgraywrites which is 99p on Kindle today.

Probably the kindest, relatable and compassionate book I have read around giving up
Read 12 tweets
Oct 21, 2021
So how does it happen?

Maybe I can be of some use explaining, people seem to enjoy these threads, so...

Heavy Goods Vehicles Braking Systems 101.

A thread.
What you see there is two vehicles, each with a separate braking system.

Drivers need to understand how these brakes work so they don't kill themselves (or anyone else).

Heavy trucks brakes are pneumatic (worked by air) rather than hydraulic (worked by fluid) like in your car
The air lines have a long way to travel and need to operate reliably in this way and also exert huge forces, so air is a better medium but it makes for complex systems.

They also 'fail safe' so if air is removed from the system the brakes come on....
Read 11 tweets
Oct 21, 2021
Naive, at best.

I am all for the rehabilitation of offenders.

However, once more for those at the back: 👏 HGV 👏 driving 👏 is not 👏 unskilled 👏

It's complex, stressful, highly regulated, difficult, heavy, dirty, unsupervised, high responsibility.
You don't 'tempt' ex-offenders by offering the very worst of jobs available and expect them to bite your arm off, because it's somehow suddenly more tempting than a life of crime.

What colour is the sky on the planet these MPs are from? They are so detached it is beyond farce
Myth buster number 2:

Foreign labour is not cheap. Our European friends were paid the same rates as our UK drivers.

They just might be (were) willing to do the rough job, dirty work and long hours...

The rough, dirty, long hours that the UK transport industry demands.
Read 5 tweets
Sep 20, 2021
Have we all been here? I bet we have. Infuriating isn't it?

So what is going on here? Why does it happen? And why won't you get the hell out of my way so I can get home. Or at least why don't you get on with it!

Let's unpick this a bit, maybe I can shed some light...
Firstly, we are all speed limited, by law. All lorries over a certain weight are speed restricted, no exceptions (or very few).

At 56mph (90kmh) the engine cuts the fuelling and no more power is available, so that is where you stay.

56mph for endless miles. That's your lot.
But this will vary hugely due to a number of environmental factors and manufacturing tolerances.

Without going into dull detail, as tyres wear their circumference decreases and so for a given engine revolution, they will make more rotations. Simple, right?
Read 10 tweets
Sep 18, 2021
What goes into an average shift driving a lorry?

Thought I would live tweet about my shift tonight. Might be interesting, or not, either way I have few remaining opportunities to show you into a world you may not otherwise ever see.

Feel free to share if you wish 🚛
2350 Saturday night, I am due to start at 0115 Sunday and the depot is an hour drive from my house.

This is not unusual in that a depot is often in the middle of nowhere, but an hour is more than far enough

Either way, long day ahead. Coffee. Won't be back here until gone 5pm
0105 arrived at depot. Hour driving done already, although this doesn't count as work, it still contributes to overall fatigue.

To be clear. I do not feel I am special or unique. Every hour of the day, 365 days of the year, a lorry driver is starting a shift somewhere in the UK
Read 37 tweets

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