DVSA consultation on test changes to address driver shortage

HGV cabin

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has launched a consultation on proposals to help ease the chronic shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers.

The Government unveiled a package of measures to tackle the HGV driver shortage last month, including proposals to allow drivers to take one test to drive both an articulated and rigid lorry.

This, it says, would streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence and would increase lorry test appointment availability.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has also extended the temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours enforcement until October, due to the continued pressures on local and national supply chains.

The pandemic has resulted in the loss of about 12 months of driver training and testing, while online retail averaged 28.1% of retail sales in 2020, according to Logistics UK, up from 19.2% in 2019. 

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) suggests the shortfall in drivers currently stands at 100,000.

The consultation, launched today (Tuesday, August 10), focuses on proposed changes to some of the requirements to obtain a vocational driving licence, for category C and D tests and all derivatives, and allowing car drivers to tow a trailer without the need for an additional test.  

The measures being consulted on include:

  • Allowing drivers to take one test to drive both a rigid and articulated lorry, rather than having to pass a test in a rigid lorry first, and then another in an articulated lorry.
  • Allowing drivers who want to use a bus or coach to tow a trailer to take one test with a trailer, rather than having to pass a test without a trailer first.
  • Allowing the off-road manoeuvres part of the test to be assessed by the driver training industry.
  • Allowing car drivers to tow a trailer without having to take another test.

The consultation will last for four weeks and end on September 7 at 11:59pm. You can read the consultation document and have your say on the GOV.UK consultation pages

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