40,000 cancelled HGV driving tests must be tackled immediately
18 Aug 2021
Posted By Josh Reynolds
We continue to call for the backlog of HGV driving tests to be cleared, amidst warnings that the driver shortage will impact on Christmas this year as businesses struggle to move the goods.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett told BBC Merseyside that the effects of the UK’s shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers are being felt across the country.
“The plans that government has put in place to support the industry aren’t working. They’re not filling that gap quickly enough,” he said.
Richard also explained that for many businesses, the build-up for Christmas has already started as an increasing number of products are delivered into the UK destined for warehouses and stores around the country.
However, there are backlogs are ports and railheads, as containers wait for trucks to carry them away.
RHA managing director Rod McKenzie told i News that “We’re looking at a serious problem at Christmas. We are losing more lorry drivers week on week than we are gaining.”
Rod explained that around 2,000 drivers are leaving the industry every week, often due to retirement, but only about 1,000 new recruits are joining the workforce in that same timeframe.
This is why we’re calling for a HGV driving tests to be given top priority by DVLA.
Last year, 40,000 of these tests were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning that the industry has not been able to bring new truckers into the industry. It’s absolutely vital that this backlog be cleared as quickly as possible.
While the announcement that the DVSA are recruiting 40 new vocational driving examiners is a start, more needs to be done to bring the HGV driver shortage crisis to an end.
We’ve also been encouraged by good news stories which have emerged amidst the crisis such as Translink Express Logistics funding driver training to allow new and existing employees to get behind the wheel.
The Narborough-based firm is offering free HGV training courses to its staff up to a value of £2,500 per person.
Translink’s Chris Hobbis said that 8 percent of their staff had applied for the scheme in the first 24 hours, highlighting the potential demand for the training.