Natasha Asghar MS, Shadow Minister for Transport in the Senedd, has welcomed action by the UK Government to tackle the shortage of HGV drivers.
Up to 50,000 more HGV driving tests will be made available each year thanks to UK Government action to streamline the testing process and tackle the worldwide lorry driver shortage.
HGV driving tests will be overhauled, meaning drivers will only need to take 1 test to drive both a rigid and articulated lorry, rather than having to take 2 separate tests (spaced 3 weeks apart). This will make around 20,000 more HGV driving tests available every year and mean drivers can gain their licence and enter the industry more quickly.
Tests will 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. This part of the test is carried out off the road on a manoeuvring area and takes a significant amount of time. Testing such manoeuvres separately will free up examiner time, meaning they can carry out another full test every day.
Car drivers will no longer need to take another test to tow a trailer or caravan, allowing roughly 30,000 more HGV driving tests to be conducted every year.
Natasha Asghar said:
“I very much welcome this action by the UK Government to streamline the testing process to tackle the shortage of HGV drivers.”
“This shortage has a number of causes, the main one being the ageing workforce.”
“ The UK Government has confirmed the standard of driving required to drive an HGV will not be affected, 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.”
“Today’s announcement will ramp up driver testing and numbers and help industry leaders build a resilient UK haulage sector which attracts drivers from across society.”
“The Welsh Government must now step up to the plate and increase the number of apprenticeships available to encourage new drivers to enter the profession.”