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Proposed changes to speed up HGV/PCV testing and encourage more drivers into the industry

We are all aware of the acute driver shortages which threaten the country’s supply chain so it’s encouraging to see new Government proposals in the pipeline aimed at speeding up testing capabilities and attracting more drivers into the industry.

HGV and PCV driver testing resumed in April with 3,000 tests a day being carried out in an attempt to clear the backlog which had built up over those long pandemic months – but it hasn’t been enough and the new Government plans would see:

  • Greater examiner capacity.
  • A streamlining of testing stages.
  • The testing process speeded up.
  • An end goal of recruiting more drivers which would keep the supply chain and the country’s economy moving.

How would it work?

There are three main changes proposed:

  • Remove staging – Currently, once you pass your driving test you have to apply for a provisional category C licence (rigid lorries over 7.5 tonne) before you can apply for a C+E (articulated lorries). The proposed change is to allow people to apply immediately for provisional C and C+E in one go, which means If you decided to go straight for C+E and pass your test you will automatically obtain category C as well as C1, if you passed your test after 1996 and don’t automatically have C1 licence.

What does this mean in terms of obtaining a medical?

On the face of it, nothing will change immediately. Drivers will still need a D4 medical when applying for their provisional category C1 or C or C+E licence. Drivers do not need a medical when applying for C+E once they already have C, so even if they now choose to do C+E straight away, it does not mean less medicals are required.

Reversing manoeuvres do not require a medical and there are no proposed changes in the document.

What happens next?

It should be pointed out that the proposed changes are just that, proposed, at this time and are out for consultation until September 7th after which a summary of responses, including the next steps, will be published within three months.

There is no mention of driver medicals in the document other than to state what the current requirements are, but obviously this may be subject to change in the future.

We welcome the initiative to streamline and speed up the testing process and hope it will have the desired effect of encouraging more drivers into the industry. Whatever the outcome, D4Drivers will remain your best option for obtaining that driver’s medical!