Huge increase in lorry driving tests following government action

Official statistics released today (11 August 2022) by the Department for Transport reveal that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carried out 74% more lorry driving tests between 1 January 2022 and 31 March 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

11,197 more lorry driving tests were carried out between 1 January 2022 and 31 March 2022 compared to the same period in 2020

PeriodNumber of lorry driving tests carried out
January to March 202015,194
January to March 202226,391

Action to help deal with the HGV driver shortage

Changes to simplify the process to become a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver to help deal with the HGV driver shortage were introduced by the government in 2021. These included:

  • allowing the off-road part of the lorry test to be carried out by non-DVSA assessors
  • allowing drivers to take one test to drive both a rigid and articulated lorry
  • removing the need for drivers to do a separate car and trailer test

In addition to these changes, DVSA recruited more vocational driving examiners to help make more tests available in the areas of where demand is highest.

The actions were part of the the government’s 33 actions taken to deal with the HGV driver shortage and protect the supply chain. This included:

  • making 11,000 HGV driver training places available through Skills Bootcamps
  • injecting a major and sustained boost to the number of HGV driving tests available
  • investing £52.5 million in improvements in roadside facilities and lorry parking

Industry bodies are reporting the number of HGV drivers is stabilising

Since the government intervened, the sector has started to recover and industry bodies are reporting positively on the number of HGV drivers stabilising.

They indicate that the initiatives introduced by government and industry have started to yield results, showing that perceptions of the industry are changing as a result of government support and more people are looking to train and qualify as HGV drivers.

It comes as part of wider government efforts to help more people into work, since this is the best way to support families in the long-term while growing the economy to address the cost of living.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said:

We took swift action and introduced 33 measures to support our vital freight sector throughout a global driver shortage and maintain our country’s supply chains. Those measures worked, with the number of lorry driver tests being taken on the rise, and the sector reporting driver numbers are stabilising.

We’ll continue to work with the industry to remove any potential barriers to a rewarding, successful career in logistics and boost driver numbers.

Loveday Ryder, DVSA Chief Executive, said:

We recognise the haulage industry keeps the wheels of our economy turning. I want to say thank you to all vocational training providers and our vocational driving examiners for supporting the changes.

It’s their hard work and commitment that has allowed us to offer an additional 11,197 tests and increase the number of drivers joining the industry.

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