14 September 2021
The shortage of drivers has been making the headlines for several months with a wide range of companies and organisations pressing the Government to take action. It has now announced plans to create an extra 50,000 lorry and bus driving tests with changes to tests to come into force as soon as possible.
This follows a public consultation over the summer which saw thousands of respondents, including industry leaders, support the move as a positive step to help the sector tackle the lorry driver shortage currently affecting a number of countries around the world.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has stressed that the changes will not change the standard of driving required to drive a heavy goods vehicle (HGV), with road safety continuing to be of paramount importance.
“Any driver who does not demonstrate utmost competence will not be granted a licence,” the Agency said.
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. Likewise, 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.
“We encourage 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,” the DVSA said. “You may wish to wait for the legislation to change.”
It has pointed out that trainers will not be able to change these bookings until the revised legislation has come into force.
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.