50,000 extra lorry test each year to tackle driver shortage
With supermarket shelves becoming increasingly emptier, the government has recently announced plans to help to tackle the shortage of lorry drivers by creating an extra 50,000 lorry tests.
This has change has come about following a public consultation over the summer which we wrote about. It saw thousands of people respond, including industry leaders, support the move as a positive step to help the sector tackle the lorry driver shortage currently affecting countries around the world.
The consultation received over 9,500 responses and according to the DVSA, most respondents supported the proposals. The DVSA will publish a full consultation report in due course.
Will the standard be lowered?
DVSA say that these changes will not change the standard of driving required to drive an HGV, with road safety continuing to be of paramount importance. They also say that any driver who does not demonstrate utmost competence will not be granted a licence. Apparently, all car drivers will also still be encouraged to undertake training to tow trailers and caravans.
In a recent notification, the DVSA say they have already delivered 50% more tests than were available before the pandemic.
How will it work though?
Well, the DVSA say that under the new proposals learner lorry drivers will be able to take an articulated lorry test without the need to pass a rigid lorry test first once the legislation has changed.
Similarly, learner bus and coach drivers will be able to take a bus and coach test with a trailer, rather than having to pass a test without a trailer first.
It is said that this will not change the standard of driving required to drive a lorry.
When will it happen?
The usual legal process for this sort of change needs to be followed, and if completed successfully, we expect the regulations will be amended as soon as possible. Changes to tests are likely to come into force as soon as possible.
If your drivers have a rigid lorry test booked
The DVSA encourages you to talk to your drivers who have a rigid lorry test booking about these changes so you can together make an informed decision about their upcoming test. You may wish to wait for the legislation to change.
Their trainers will not be able to change these bookings until the revised legislation has come into force anyway.
You will still be able to book a rigid lorry test and a bus and coach test without trailers following this change.
In the future, the off-road manoeuvres part of vocational tests will be assessed by DVSA-approved vocational trainers.
These manoeuvres will be assessed at the vocational trainer’s off-road area before the on-road test with DVSA.
We anticipate being updated by the DVSA in due course, but in the meantime, please contact our regulatory team on 01254 828300 if you need any advice.