From the 15th November 2021 the rules relating to driving a HGV, coach or bus changed. Due to the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK and the impact on supply chains and businesses throughout the country, the government ran a consultation and the result of that were changes to the HGV tests. The aim of introducing changes to the rules relating to HGV driving was to increase testing capacity and therefore speeding up the process of passing the test and reducing the HGV driver shortage.
For anyone working in the haulage, logistics or supply chain/transport sector, it is likely that these rule changes could impact you.
Essentially, the changes should make it easier for HGV drivers, fleet managers and operators. The changes reduce the number of tests HGV drivers potentially need to take and this not only simplifies the process but also ensures that it is easier for drivers to book tests as there should be more availability.
What HGV Test Changes Came Into Force?
The government introduced several changes to bus driver and HGV tests effective from the 15th November 2021. The main changes can be split into two main categories:
- How the driving test actually works; and
- What you are allowed to learn to drive and take the actual driving test in
One of the significant changes relates to the second point and how the driving test is undertaken. These changes relate to the type of vehicle you can learn to drive in.
Historically and previous to the changes, if you wanted to take a test to drive an articulated category CE lorry, you would need to ensure you passed the test to drive a large rigid category C lorry.
From the 15th November 2021 this rule has changed. From this date, drivers can now take the test for the articulated lorry and if the test is passed then the driver will also be permitted to drive a large rigid lorry.
What does this change mean?
The new rules mean that any driver who takes the driving test for a category CE vehicle will also be able to drive the following vehicles:
- A rigid lorry (category C)
- A medium sized lorry (category C1)
- A large articulated lorry (category CE)
- A medium sized lorry towing a trailer (category CE1)
Drivers will still have the option of learning to drive in, and taking the test in, a large rigid lorry if they do not intend to drive any larger vehicle.
Bus and Coach Driving
Passenger vehicles such as coaches and buses will also face a change to the rules. Previously to drive a bus or coach you would have to learn to drive and then pass a driving test in an actual coach or bus (category D).
You would also have had to learn to drive and take a test in a coach or bus towing a trailer (category DE).
The change in the rules means that you can now:
- Take a test in a coach or bus towing a trailer (category DE) without having to have sat and passed a test in a bus or coach (category D) first.
- If you do not want to or intend to tow a trailer you can take a test in a coach or bus.
- Learn to drive in a coach or bus towing a trailer when you get your provisional licence if it is issued after 15 November 2021
- Drive a minibus and minibus with trailer if you pass your test in a bus or coach that is towing a trailer
If you have a provisional licence that was issued prior to 15 November 2021 you will be entitled to additional provisional entitlements. You can apply to have the additional entitlements added to your licence.
The changes to buses and coach drivers also apply to minibus drivers.
This means that drivers will be able to learn how to drive a minibus that is towing a trailer (category D1E) and take a test in this type of vehicle without having to first pass a test in just the minibus (category D1).
Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) – Changes
There will also be changes to the driver CPC which is the driving ability test.
The test has been split into two separate parts comprising the following:
Drivers will have to book and take each part of the test ensuring that they pass both elements of the test.
With all the changes to the rules it is essential that haulage industry ensures that it continues to review the insurance policies they have in place, making sure that they meet the needs and requirements of the operations.
Heavy goods vehicles need comprehensive insurance to ensure the vehicle is protected alongside the driver and the goods carried by the vehicle. Depending on the business you work for, you may need a non-standard and bespoke insurance policy.