The changes are hoped to tackle the shortage of HGV drivers affecting supply chains.
The UK Government has announced changes to driving tests to streamline the testing process, allowing them to tackle lorry driver shortage.
The new guidelines were published by the Department for Transport, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, on the government website on Friday, September 10th.
Currently, the lack of HGV drivers worldwide is causing shortages in restaurants – such as Nandos, who had to temporarily close 45 restaurants in August – and supermarkets, which have seen ongoing issues with empty shelves.
Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Over the summer, we consulted on three measures which will substantially increase the number of vocational driving tests available. I can announce today that we will proceed with the measures we consulted on”
The first change will see car drivers no longer needing to take a second test to tow a trailer or caravan. The government believes this will allow “roughly 30,000 more HGV driving tests to be conducted every year.”
Secondly, the reversing exercise will be removed from tests to make them shorter – for vehicles with trailers, the uncoupling and coupling exercise will be removed – these will be tested separately by a third party.
The third change will speed up the process of getting a licence to drive an articulated vehicle, without first having to get a licence for a smaller vehicle. The government believes this will see around 20,000 more HGV driving tests available.
Overall, the government hopes the new changes will allow for up to 50,000 more driving tests to be available each year.
Mr Shapps continued: “Some of these changes will generate additional capacity for HGV tests very rapidly, and we will shortly lay the appropriate licensing regulations before the House.
“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.
“The driver shortage is a widespread problem affecting countries across Europe and also the United States, caused by a range of factors, including an ageing workforce.
“Today’s announcement will ramp up driver testing and numbers and help industry leaders build a resilient haulage sector which attracts drivers from across society.”