The UK government has announced changes to HGV driving tests that have been criticised by the national haulage industry association as a ‘risk to road safety’.
The move is an attempt to speed-up recruitment of new lorry drivers in response to an ongoing shortage across Europe, but one that has been compounded in the UK because of Brexit.
Under the new plans, drivers will no longer have to pass two separate tests to move from a non-articulated to an articulated lorry. The requirement for testing reversing skills will also be taken out of the main test and done instead by a third-party organisation.
The UK Road Haulage Association’s Brian Kenny said: “There’s about seven people knocked down and killed in yards each year by reversing vehicles. Removing the reversing manoeuvre from the test is a step back. As far as we’re concerned, one person killed is one too many. Going forward on the roads should be assessed and should be tested. It’s equally important to test properly how an individual reverses and manoeuvres off the road.”
Barry Sheerman MP, President of ETSC’s UK member PACTS called the changes ‘careless’ and a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to driver shortages that ‘will put lives at risk’.