The UK government introduced changes to tackle the UK HGV driver shortage hoping to gain at least 50,000 more drivers into the trucking industry. In this article, we take a look at the changes made plus give our opinion of the changes.
HGV Driving Test Changes 2021
The UK government has announced that up to 50,000 more HGV driving tests are to be made available each year in order to streamline the testing process for HGV drivers.
The tests themselves are to be overhauled, this will mean that an HGV driver will now only need to take one test which will allow them to drive both a rigid vehicle previously (Class 2) and an articulated vehicle previously (class 1).
The government believes by making this change it will allow for approximately 20,000 more HGV tests to be carried out every year.
The government’s aim with the changes is to ensure that HGV drivers are able to gain their licence much more quickly to boost driver input into the haulage industry.
The HGV driving test itself is to be made shorter, they hope to achieve this by removing the reversing exercise but also the coupling and uncoupling of trailers, these tests will now be completed by a third party and will be completed off-road in a maneuvering area which will reduce the main test time significantly.
Changes to Car Trailer Test to Help UK HGV Driver Shortage
The UK Government’s new legislation includes that car drivers will no longer be required to take another test to tow a trailer or to pull a caravan, this change to previous legislation will allow up to 30,000 more HGV tests to be carried out each year.
Safety Assurances to Changes of UK HGV Driver Testing
Assurances have been made that the changes to the HGV driver testing will not affect the driver standards.
Road safety is still going to be a high priority, and any driver that does not meet the required driving skills will not achieve their licence.
British Trucking Opinion of The Changes
It has been obvious for some time that changes were required to tackle the shortage of drivers in the UK.
I feel that the changes that are being made are the government trying to shut the door after the horse has bolted!
The industry has lost tens of thousands of qualified and experienced drivers over recent years due to the CPC, IR35, and of course Brexit. If the government could not see this problem arising sooner, then in my mind, they have simply not been listening to all the associations or driver orginisations who have seen this coming for years.
It is however a good idea to make the process of obtaining an HGV licence quicker and easier in the process, although, we have yet to see the cost of the third-party training required to complete the coupling, uncoupling, and reversing procedure required to drive class 1 vehicles.