The UK’s lorry drivers carry out vital work on a daily and nightly basis which benefits us all, from the food on our shop shelves, to the fuel we buy on the forecourts. However, certain criminal elements in the woodwork seem to think that their actions towards our hauliers will not have disastrous knock-on effects.
We are of course talking about the freight thefts and hijackings which are believed to cost the economy some £250 million per year; no wonder thousands of lorry drivers, many of whom pay safely for their diesel at the pumps with fuel cards, are sleeping with one eye open at rest stops!
Last week organisation Truckersworld told BBC Newsbeat that thefts of goods from lorries have increased by 63 per cent over the last year, with the vast majority occurring while drivers are stationary and catching up on some well-deserved sleep. Drivers are now warning that the costs may be passed on to consumers unless immediate action is taken to protect them.
In addition to wares being stolen from the trailer, thieves tend to prey on the driver’s cab itself. As these hauliers spend such long hours on the road requiring extended rest breaks, they tend to have home comforts such as TVs, music systems and other luxuries in their cab – and understandably so! Unfortunately these also make them easy prey to crooks.
Exasperated HGV driver Pete Minns, who has himself been targeted in the past, told the programme: “There are certain areas of the country where you just wouldn’t want to be overnight. They have spotters: one in front of the cab making sure you don’t wake up and one behind taking the goods.”
Why should hauliers, who do what they can to make their jobs as comfortable and efficient as possible, be punished when they have a little shut-eye?
The Department of Transport and other industry bodies should do what they can to transform the act of sleeping from the seeming liability it is now to the deserved break it should be.
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