Driver licensing changes
Proposed plans to bring back rights for all drivers to drive large vans and small lorries
The government is considering a change to driver licence permissions to tackle the ongoing driver shortage.
Following on from removing the need for trailer training and testing, the government is considering the reintroduction large van and small lorry rights.
Backwards and forwards
Prior to January 1, 1997, people who passed their driving test for a car had additional rights. They could drive heavier, larger vehicles up to 8.25 tonnes and minibuses. These entitlements were removed for road safety and to fall in line with EU policy.
The Department for Transport (DfT) stressed that no decisions have been made on whether these rights should be reintroduced. At this point it is collecting views from the commercial fleet industry to inform its future approach to the issue.
It adds that any changes would need to ensure continued safe use of UK roads. Any decision must be economically proportionate, with future possible restrictions based on age or driving experience.
More drivers needed
It is one of a series of measures included in a call for evidence, launched on Friday, August 5.
Others include, creating a formal register of HGV driving instructors and publishing pass rates for instructors. This could help improve HGV driver training standards, raise the profile of the commercial fleet drivers’ profession and enhance road safety.
It is also seeking views on whether the UK should permit mechanics who already hold an HGV licence to drive vehicles like buses or coaches for repair purposes.
Transport minister Karl McCartney says they are looking at “ ways to make it easier and quicker to kickstart a rewarding career in logistics”.
New HGV drivers are taking and passing their driving test in record numbers. Between March 2022 and May 2022, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carried out 29,384 HGV tests – 54% more than the corresponding period in 2019 before the pandemic.
The Government also recently launched The Future of Freight Plan, encouraging people to choose a career in logistics. This includes a major campaign, launched in June 2022, to recruit and retain a skilled workforce in the logistics sector.