The changes to the HGV driver testing process announced on 10 September show the government is now moving at pace towards a solution to the current driver shortage, according to business group Logistics UK.
The increase in testing capacity by a third is very welcome, but these promises need to be implemented quickly if they are to make significant difference to the current drive shortage in time for Christmas, as Elizabeth de Jong, Policy Director at Logistics UK explains:
“With access to tests a key barrier to recruits wishing to join the occupation, the government’s measures to speed up the process of qualifying as an HGV driver – including the removal of staged testing and allowing authorised private sector examiners to undertake parts of the examination – will increase testing capacity significantly and have a positive effect in the longer-term. However, the impact of today’s measures is unlikely to make a significant difference on the driver shortage if they cannot be implemented in time for the industry’s Christmas peak, with DVSA, DVLA and the wider training industry needing time to apply the changes and adapt their operations.”
Ms De Jong continued, “Logistics UK had strongly voiced our concerns about the proposed abolition of the B+E driver category, as this could pose a risk to road safety. However, Logistics UK has been assured that there will be a package of safety mitigation measures introduced; we will be working with government to ensure safety is prioritised.”
Logistics UK, formally FTA, is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing all sectors of the transport and logistics industry.
Photo: Elizabeth de Jong