During the pandemic government put into place actions to address the HGV driver shortage, from expanding the driver testing capacity to improving the licensing process.
Further opportunities are being explored and part of this is a call for evidence on changes to the driving licence entitlements. Prior to 1997 new drivers also had the categories C1 and D1 on their licences, which allowed them to drive a vehicle between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes plus a trailer of up to 750kg, which combined allowed the driving of a vehicle up to 8.25 tonnes under their C1 category entitlement. Similarly new drivers had the right to drive minibuses, not for hire or reward, of no more than 16 seats and a maximum of 8 metres in length, with a trailer of up to 750kg on their D1 category entitlement.
The areas now being explored include whether to grant drivers who have category B car licence entitlement additional entitlement to category C1 (7.5 tonnes) goods vehicle entitlement and whether to grant drivers who have a category B licence entitlement to a minibus category D1 licence.
In addition to other ideas on licence categories, there are proposals to raise the standards of HGV instruction and improve pass rates and to permit a person who has held an HGV category C licence for 2 years to drive PCVs for maintenance and repair purposes.
DfT want to hear the views of those who help make the driver licensing regime efficient and safe and be guided by the feedback.