The government and haulage industry need to do more to provide resources and support for drivers with cognitive and physical disabilities to help them return to work, according to new research from haulage digital marketplace SNAP.

The research looked at the level of disability in the HGV driving population and found that there is a low level of awareness of the number of disabled truck drivers in the UK.

The report noted that in the Autumn Statement, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) had called for more people on disability benefits to return to work. However SNAP warns this is easier said than done and called for more help for disabled drivers both from the industry and from government.

Andy Tustian, chief executive of Globe Truckers UK, a charity built to support injured, sick, or disabled truck drivers, said disabled drivers face an uphill battle to find employment.

”A lot of disabled or injured drivers don’t know where to turn to as there is very little information out there for them. It’s difficult for them to find employment as some haulage companies are reluctant to employ disabled people - they are often wary of the obstacles drivers face outside of the cab, for example, stairs and lifting.”

“It’s vital the industry puts their support and time back into itself, whether directly to disabled drivers or charities, like Globe Truckers. The haulage industry can’t expect to appeal to people if they don’t show and provide support for minorities.”

 Under the Equality Act, depots are not obliged to make reasonable adjustments for drivers with disabilities.David Chambers, a disabled truck driver, has accused ministers of hypocrisy after they refused his requests to make simple changes to equality laws - which would ensure he and other disabled drivers can stay in work.

Tustian believes truck stops can pave the way by implementing “more disabled parking at truck stops for those that find it difficult to get in and out of the cab. Some drivers need wheelchair hoists and may need that extra space around them.” 

The £100m funding from the government could be a welcome advancement for truck stops looking to improve their disabled access, according to Matthew Bellamy, SNAP MD. He added: ”To create a diverse and inclusive culture, more support is needed for drivers with cognitive and physical disabilities.  

“We would love to see accessible facilities across Europe to make life comfortable for disabled drivers. And we will continue to use our influence at SNAP to raise awareness about the challenges disabled drivers face and offer our support in any way possible.”