Today (10 September) 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 come into force as soon as possible. They follow 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 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.
We’ve already delivered 50% more tests than were available before the pandemic, but today’s 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.
We’ve analysed the responses and published a summary of the public feedback on these proposals on GOV.UK.
We will publish a full consultation report in due course.
Staging of lorry and bus and coach licences and tests
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.
This will not change the standard of driving required to drive a lorry.
Legal processes must be followed, and if completed successfully, we expect the regulations will be amended as soon as possible.
If your drivers have a rigid lorry test booked
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. You may wish to wait for the legislation to change.
Their 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.
We will work closely with the industry on these plans and keep you updated.