Keir Starmer fails mock HGV driving test
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The Department for Transport has announced it is launching a review into training for HGV drivers in a bid to increase the number of licences issued. Like countries across Europe and the US, Britain has been grappling with a shortage of lorry drivers in recent months.
The crisis, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, has been blamed for empty shelves in supermarkets, and panic buying at petrol stations.
Currently, drivers need to undergo five days of periodic training every five years to ensure they remain fully qualified to drive heavy goods vehicles as part of the Driver Certificates of Professional Competence (DCPC).
The training was introduced by the EU but currently remains a part of UK law.
Many are forced to pay for the training themselves, forcing them to take the decision to leave the industry and adding to a shortage of drivers.
The Transport Secretary is launching a review in a bid to slash the burden of training on new and existing drivers to fill existing vacancies and reduce fears of shortages in the long run.
Mr Shapps said: “We’re listening to industry leaders who have told us about the issues HGV drivers face with CPC arrangements.
“Now we’ve taken back control of our own laws and regulations, I’m delighted to say we’re launching a review into these training rules.
“We understand it’s vital for drivers to remain fully qualified – but we’re looking to ensure they can do so in the most efficient way possible whilst maintaining road safety standards.
“No driver should be out of pocket or out of work through no fault of their own.
“This is the latest in a raft of thirty measures we’ve taken to support this vital sector and encourage drivers to return to the job or kickstart a new career in the industry.
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“These measures are working – there is no backlog of HGV licence applications and we’re seeing over 1,000 more people than normal apply for a licence each week.”
The review will ask for input from a range of stakeholders including representatives of drivers, employers, trainers and road safety interests.
The Road Haulage Association estimated last month there was a shortage of more than 100,000 qualified drivers in the UK.
Mr Shapps has already taken action in an attempt to reduce the shortage with the testing process being streamlined.
The number of tests available has also been increased by 90 percent.
Over 40,000 HGV licence applications have been processed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in just four weeks helping to reduce the shortfall.
The announcement of the review into EU rules was welcomed by Logistics UK, a trade association representing over 18,000 companies from the transport industry.
Director of Policy, Elizabeth De Jong, said: “We welcome the review of Driver CPC, to ensure that continuous education for drivers is as effective as possible while upholding all necessary safety requirements.”
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