Massive driving licence changes could be introduced to unlock ‘post-Brexit freedoms’

Martin Lewis issues warning for driving licence scams

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The Department for Transport has launched a call for evidence on a range of options to help more people access well-paid jobs in haulage. It is hoped the views will be used to tackle the driver shortage, support new haulage jobs and bolster UK supply chains.

The views submitted by members of the public and industry professionals will help assist the Government with ongoing research.

This will include how post-Brexit freedoms are used to remove red tape and create opportunities for people across the country. 

The call for evidence, which was launched today, will include creating a formal register of HGV driving instructors, and publishing pass rates for instructors. 

This could help improve HGV driver training standards, raise the profile of the profession and enhance road safety.

It will also seek views on whether the UK should permit mechanics who already hold an HGV licence to drive vehicles like buses or coaches for repair purposes.

This would be part of reintroducing other lost so-called “grandfather rights” in the UK. 

Questions around reintroducing grandfather rights explore whether the UK should allow those who hold a normal car driving licence to drive certain larger vans or smaller lorries up to 7.5 tonnes. 

Prior to January 1, 1997, people who passed their driving test for a normal car also obtained the right to drive heavier, larger vehicles up to 8.25 tonnes weight and minibuses.

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These entitlements were removed by the European Union.

No decisions have been made on whether these rights should be reintroduced and the Government is keen for views from a wide range of stakeholders to inform its future approach to the issue. 

Any changes would need to ensure continued safe use of our roads and be economically proportionate. 

Transport Minister Karl McCartney commented on the call for evidence, saying it would help boost UK supply chains.

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The Conservative MP for Lincoln added: “Our country has a robust supply chain and our ongoing and unprecedented support for the haulage sector means that the number of HGV drivers is stabilising.

“We continue looking for ways to make it easier and quicker to kickstart a rewarding career in logistics. 

“That’s why we’re asking people for their views on how we could streamline the licensing process and remove any potential barriers – making the most of our post-Brexit freedoms.” 

There could possibly be restrictions based on age or driving experience, which is reflected in the questions set out in the call for evidence.

This follows the Government’s 33 actions already taken to tackle the HGV driver shortage and protect the supply chain.

As part of these measures, the Government has seen record numbers of HGV driving test pass rates and positive reports from the sector of stable driver numbers.

The Government’s unprecedented actions to help the sector tackle the global shortage of drivers has included making 11,000 HGV driver training places available through skills bootcamps.

It has also injected a major and sustained boost to the number of HGV driver tests available, and investing £52.5million in improvements in roadside facilities and lorry parking.

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