This week is National Lorry Week, designed to promote the road transport industry and the vital service it provides.
But why wouldn’t we love the lorry? For those of us working in transport the appreciation of the lorry is a given, it’s our livelihood.
Changing the perception of the general public though is hard. In fact it seems that our industry is forever being persecuted. During this year’s winter blizzards Nicola Sturgeon blamed lorries for the mayhem on the M80.
We hear of truckers being denied the basic human rights to use toilets. Request a call out from an engineer and we are given an am or pm time slot, yet the lorry has to arrive on time, every time or often face hefty penalties, with no consideration for delays caused by congestion or incidents on the roads.
And, at the end of a hard day’s work wouldn’t it be normal for our drivers to relax in comfortable surroundings, with good nourishing food? Of course, first they have to find parking.
And, if they are turned away due to services being full, drivers may then be disciplined for breaching drivers’ hours! Of course the incident on the road is always the fault of the lorry driver. Thank goodness for cameras and telematics systems, which often prove that not only did the driver not cause the accident damage, but in fact was not there!
Now lorries are being blamed for air pollution in towns, despite there being rather more cars on the road. Town councils blame government and government puts the onus on councils for the introduction of clean air zones, with vehicle operators in the middle and paying the cost.
Despite all of this our industry is fast moving and exciting. It is sad that we have to campaign to be acknowledged. We absolutely need to go out to the wider community, educate school children, lobby councils and government, discuss with customers and colleagues the importance of our industry to the economy.
Without lorries our supermarket shelves would be empty, our fuel stations closed and production would stop. The billions we contribute to the economy would be lost. Most importantly as we showcase the industry lets also love the drivers, often unappreciated or even acknowledged, yet delivering for our industry - and for all of us - day after day.
- Lesley O’Brien is a partner at Freightlnk Europe and Freight Train. She is a founder member of She’s RHA. Follow her @freighttrainllp on Twitter.