UK government HGV driver solution? Hair-raising

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By Russell Bruce

The UK government have come up with a plan to increase the number of HGV drivers. Instead of 2 tests, 3 weeks apart, now only 1 test is proposed. The reversing exercise element for drivers of rigid and articulated trucks is to be removed.

The following it taken directly from the UK government website

“Up to 50,000 more HGV driving tests will be made available each year thanks to 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.

This new legislation is changing previous EU regulations which the UK is no longer obliged to use.”

In a ministerial statement Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “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.”

Aye right. This is a typical response by a Tory government – less regulation, lower standards and getting rid of troublesome EU regulation requirements.

Big question. What does the insurance industry make of lower standards which always comes with higher risks?