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The haulage and logistics industry has reported a shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers and is coming under considerable pressure to maintain current and future supply chain commitments. The shortage is reported to have increased over the last five years from 45,000 in 2016 to 76,000 today. This shortage is likely to become acute as the demand for haulage services increases with the country moving out of current COVID-19 restrictions, including the full reopening of the hospitality sector later this month and looking ahead to the seasonal increase in demand towards Christmas.

 During the pandemic, DVSA paused theoretical and practical driver testing, for all but essential mobile workers. There is a backlog of driving tests, as well as the normal demand for test appointments. DVSA is working hard to recover those tests.

 On 20 July 2021, the Secretary of State announced a package of support measures which are intended to help address the HGV driver shortage. Some of those would need changes to legislation. This consultation explores those options which are intended to support an increase in the availability of DVSA large vehicle testing capacity and help encourage new drivers into the profession. The regulatory requirements to obtain a vocational driving licence do not always facilitate a swift progress for the holder from provisional to full licence status, and the DfT wants to understand what is possible to assist drivers and operators speed up this process.

Changes to HGV and bus driving tests and allowing car drivers to tow a trailer without an extra test - GOV.UK (