Driver shortage: Huge increase in truck driving tests

Lorry driver wearing a high-vis jacket in the cab

Official statistics reveal 74% more lorry tests were carried out between January and March 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The figures, from the Department for Transport (DfT), show that there were 26,391 truck tests carried out in Q1 2022, 11,197 more than the 15,194 tests carried out from January to March 2020.

Changes to simplify the process to become a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver to help deal with the HGV driver shortage were introduced by the Government in 2021.

These included: allowing the off-road part of the lorry test to be carried out by non-DVSA assessors; allowing drivers to take one test to drive both a rigid and articulated lorry; and removing the need for drivers to do a separate car and trailer test.

In addition to these changes, DVSA recruited more vocational driving examiners to help make more tests available in the areas of where demand is highest.

The actions were part of the Government’s 33 actions taken to deal with the HGV driver shortage and protect the supply chain. This included: making 11,000 HGV driver training places available through Skills Bootcamps; increasing the number of HGV driving tests available; and investing £52.5 million in improvements in roadside facilities and lorry parking.

Karl McCartney, transport minister, said: “The Government took swift action and introduced 33 measures to support our vital freight sector throughout a global driver shortage and to maintain our country’s supply chains.

“Those measures have worked, with the number of lorry driver tests being taken on the rise, and the sector reporting driver numbers are stabilising.

“We’ll continue to work with the industry to remove any potential barriers to a rewarding, successful career in logistics and to boost and maintain driver numbers.”

Loveday Ryder, DVSA chief executive, added: “We recognise the haulage industry keeps the wheels of our economy turning.

“I want to say thank you to all vocational training providers and our vocational driving examiners for supporting the changes.

“It’s their hard work and commitment that has allowed us to offer an additional 11,197 tests and increase the number of drivers joining the industry.”

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