Report: UK HGV driver testing set to be significantly shortened
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The UK Government is set to unveil a significant change to the country's HGV testing system in order to get new drivers into work faster. The BBC reports that the changes could be announced as soon as tomorrow.
BBC sources say that during meetings with government officials, hauliers and suppliers, the “penny finally dropped” regarding the fact the UK’s driver shortage issue was exacerbating rather than improving.
In response to the story, the government told the BBC that meetings with affected groups were ongoing and that any change in policy would be announced in due course.
“The government seem to finally understand the scale of the problem. For the first time they looked rattled”, industry sources told the BBC.
It is believed that a key part of the plan to speed up testing would involve combining the Class C test used for rigid lorries and Class E for larger articulated lorries into one test.
As it stands, a minimum of 2-3 weeks is the norm between taking the two tests (although this has been known to take longer).
The rumoured change comes following multiple calls from industry bodies for the current driver shortage to be temporarily remedied via a visa scheme until new British drivers are fully trained and pass their tests. However, the government maintains that the haulage industry should not rely on foreign labour, and are determined to stick to their immigration policy. As a result, the shortening of the testing programme may be seen as one method that can fix the shortage without the use of drivers from abroad.
The initial reaction among drivers on social media so far suggests some truckers believe the acceleration of the programme could result in more accidents. Others say the change will make things similar to how it was in the past, and that there is no issue. We shall provide you with more developments and reaction to this story as the details regarding the changes become apparent.