The government has announced plans to help to tackle the shortage of lorry drivers by creating an extra 50,000 lorry tests.
Changes to tests will reportedly come into force as soon as possible. This follows a public consultation over the summer, which saw thousands of respondents support the move as a positive step to help the sector tackle the lorry driver shortage currently affecting countries around the world.
These changes will not change the standard of driving required to drive an HGV, with road safety continuing to be of paramount importance. Any driver who does not demonstrate utmost competence will not be granted a licence. All car drivers will also still be encouraged to undertake training to tow trailers and caravans.
The DVSA has already delivered 50% more tests than were available before the pandemic, but these additional measures will deliver yet more tests.
Public feedback on the consultation proposals
The consultation received over 9,500 responses and most respondents supported the proposals.
The DVSA analysed the responses and published a summary of the public feedback on these proposals on GOV.UK and will publish a full consultation report in due course.
Under the updated 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.
Legal processes must be followed and, if completed successfully, the DVSA expects the regulations will be amended as soon as possible.
If your drivers have a rigid lorry test booked
The DVSA encourages people to talk to drivers who have a rigid lorry test booking about these changes so an informed decision can be made about upcoming tests.
Trainers will not be able to change these bookings until the revised legislation has come into force. You will still be able to book a rigid lorry test and a bus and coach test without trailers following this change.
Trainers conducting the manoeuvres assessment in vocational driving tests
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.
The DVSA will work closely with the industry on these plans and deliver updates in due course.