Road Haulage Association unhappy with HGV driver testing proposals

The Road Haulage Association has lashed out at government proposals to simplify HGV driver testing, citing an already-too-high death rate in warehouse yards with existing testing.

The government, which is responding to the estimated 90,000 HGV driver shortage, is taking the following measures to increase the number of HGV driving test slots:

– Car drivers will no longer have to take a special test to tow trailers or caravans. This will free up 30,000 test slots a year for HGV drivers.

– Including the reversing manoeuvres element of the test, several elements will be removed from the test procedure to speed it up

– Drivers will be allowed to do an HGV driving test without first driving a smaller vehicle. This improves the route to entry, but also means less experienced drivers will be driving HGVs

According to Transport Minister Grant Shapps, these measures will increase capacity very rapidly. The measures would however need to be approved by Parliament first.

He added: “These changes will not change the standard of driving required to drive an HGV, with road safety continuing to be of paramount importance.”

The Road Haulage Association responded by saying that these measures will compromise road safety. Brian Kenny from the RHA said, “According to HSE, there’s about seven people knocked down and killed in yards each year with vehicles reversing.

“I think it is a step back. More than one person is one too many, as far as we’re concerned.

“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.”