Government announces new measures to ‘ramp up’ HGV driver testing

In an effort to tackle the current UK-wide HGV driver shortage, new measures have been added to driver testing, allowing for roughly 30,000 more HGV test to go ahead every year.

In a written statement to Parliament today (September 10), the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, said he will proceed with the following measures:

To begin with, car drivers will no longer need to take a separate test to tow a trailer or caravan. This, the statement said, will allow for roughly 30,000 more HGV driving tests to be conducted yearly.

Next, to shorten the length of the exam, some test elements are to be removed: for cars, this is the ‘reversing exercise’ and for vehicles with trailers, this is the ‘uncoupling and recoupling’ exercise.

Lastly, the department said they will make the process of getting a licence to drive an articulated vehicle ‘quicker’, by no longer making it mandatory to have to get a licence for a smaller vehicle first.

This, the statement said, will make a further 20,000 HGV driving tests available every year (roughly), and at a faster pace too – without, it is noted, reducing the rigour of the test.

“These changes will not change the standard of driving required to drive an HGV, with road safety continuing to be of paramount importance,” the statement said.

“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 driver shortage is a widespread problem affecting countries across Europe and also the United States, caused by a range of factors, including an ageing workforce.

“Today’s announcement will ramp up driver testing and numbers and help industry leaders build a resilient haulage sector which attracts drivers from across society,” the statement concluded.