Streamlining the testing process for lorry drivers will help make up to 50,000 more tests available, according to the government.
Confirming its proposal to allow drivers to take one test to drive both an articulated and rigid lorry, the department for transport (DfT) said this alone would make around 20,000 more HGV driving tests available every year and help drivers enter the industry more quickly.
It said tests would also be made shorter by removing the ‘reversing exercise’ element – and for vehicles with trailers, the ‘uncoupling and recoupling’ exercise – and having it tested separately by a third party.
In addition, the DfT said that car drivers would no longer need to take another test to tow a trailer or caravan, which it calculated would allow around 30,000 more HGV driving tests to be conducted every year.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The shortage of drivers is a global problem, but we’ve been taking action here in the UK to help industry leaders attract drivers and build a more resilient sector.
“We’ve already delivered 50% more tests than were available before the pandemic, but today’s additional measures will deliver up to 50,000 more a year, helping more and more people to kickstart their career as a well-paid HGV driver.”
This week, Shapps told MPs that the driver shortage was not caused by Brexit and was a problem created by Covid-19: “To say that this is just a Brexit issue is completely untrue; it is about coronavirus,” he said.
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