Rules for HGVs and towing relaxed in order to ease shortages

  • Pandemic saw HGV tests grind to a halt last year
  • New plans should allow for 30,000 more HGV tests
  • Motorists no longer need separate test to tow

The government has announced HGV driving tests will be relaxed to address concerns surrounding the current driver shortage affecting Christmas.

The shortage, caused by an aging workforce, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a reduction in nearly 50,000 drivers since 2019 resulting in supply shortages across the country.

Supermarkets, public health and sewage plants have all reported shortages of crucial supplies, with food, flu vaccinations and key chemicals all being affected by the driver shortage.

What are the changes?

The biggest change for car owners is that they will no longer have to take another test to tow a caravan or trailer. Removing these tests is set to allow for 30,000 more HGV tests to be taken.

HGV tests will be made shorter with the reversing exercise and uncoupling and recoupling trailers removed from the test, the latter will be tested by a third party.

The final change will see the requirement to hold a licence for a smaller vehicle (a car for example) dropped. The government claims this will allow 20,000 more tests to take place and get HGV drivers on the roads quicker.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has stated that the rigour of the test will not be affected by the changes, instead claiming the process will be streamlined.

And Christmas?

The government had previously increased HGV driving tests by 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels but there are still concerns that there will be further shortages in the lead up to Christmas.

Shapps commented that the measures taken should go a long way to 'guarantee that food and retail supplies at Christmas aren't going to be affected' by the shortages.

The HGV shortage isn't limited to just the UK either, with Europe and the USA also reporting driver shortages too.

Further reading

>> The best cars for towing

>> The best SUVs for towing

>> Car advice on Parkers

>> Why your next car might be bought on an app

>> Find out how much your car is worth with Parkers

Motorists no longer need to take separate test to tow