Government consults on driver licensing changes

Government consults on driver licensing changes – including allowing Cat B drivers to drive large vans and lorries of up to 7.5 tonnes

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the subsequent HGV driver shortage crisis, the government rapidly put 33 actions in place to address these issues.

Eight of these actions came from expanding the HGV driver testing capacity and improving the licensing process. The licensing improvements were achievable partly due to the fact that we had left the European Union and had the freedom to change our legislation to improve our testing and licensing regime.

Government now wish to explore whether there are any further opportunities that could be available. These 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.

Any changes would need to ensure continued safe use of our roads and be economically proportionate. That is why DfT want to hear the views of those who help make our driver licensing regime efficient and safe and be guided by the feedback – and that makes the responses of professional driver trainers important.

You can access the consultation here.

Please also take the DIA’s short survey too and feedback your views. The DIA will then use that feedback to inform an official response. 

7 thoughts on “Government consults on driver licensing changes”

  1. David Elleker

    i feel letting cat b holders drive a mini bus is a insult to all the people who took the d1 test to prove they were safe and worthy to pass this is not a way of improving road safety i do get fed up with all these stupid hair brain idears why dont they talk to people do this as a job

    1. Steve Pearce

      I totally get what you are saying but this is no different to those who paid for a E (trailer) test and then just be awarded to all drivers – the rules are simply being reverted back to how they were before EU got to grips with UK rulings – they will just have the same entitlement as someone who passed before 97!). Just think someone who passed in 1996 (so, no training for 26 years and never passed a theory test) can drive both D1 and C1 however, if you passed in late 97 – you can’t – where is the logic – if safety wise it’s not safe – how can it be safe with grandfather rights? Obviously – just reverting back will have implications – digi tacho is one hurdle..

    2. Derek Sharpe

      Always could drive up to 7:5 tons so no objection
      Cat B licence not to allowed to drive mini buses D1
      Far to many drive them claiming not for payment or reward. Many loop holes teachers charities county council busses etc.

    3. David Wilkinson

      I think that full D1 entitlement should be obtained only on passing the D1 test, for safety reasons. I would not want lesser qualified drivers being paid to ferry people in minibuses. The previous position was that D1 was given, but subject to restrictions. However, I believe that C1 entitlement could be given, relatively safely, to those maybe aged 21, and who passed their B test more than a year ago. I’m aware that age and how long ago the B test was passed is not a perfect test of safety, but it’s sufficiently well correlated to make this a practical policy.

      I disagree with David Elleker’s argument for wanting to retain the test. The fact that we had to take a D1 (or for me, D) test is no reason whatever for re-considering what is best in future. It certainly isn’t an insult, but an idea. If someone chooses to be insulted by an idea, one might suggest making better choices.

      I think there is more chance that ministers might heed the advice of professionals where that advice is more logically reasoned.

    4. I agree with David Elleker it is an insult to those people who put themselves through a D1 test to suddenly find catergory b drivers allowed to drive a minibus.
      A minibus is totally different to driving a car, can carry more people, be heavier and may have a passenger lift and carry people with disabilities. This decision needs to be fully thought through and discussion regarding the implications should take place. We seem to be moving backwards to pre 1997 licence catergories so why did we change them all those years ago, for safety reasons and there are more vehicles on the roads now

    5. That is a bit rich, considering how stats show that vocational drivers can be among the worse road users! I have seen many minibus drivers bully, cut up, intimidate smaller vehicles as well as stop in the centre if small roads, whilst allowing passengers to embark/disembark without consideration for other road users who get stuck behind until they have finished. I also frequently see a local school minibus driver, female, SMOKING in the cab, whilst driving. Tower Hamlets, if you are interested).

  2. It is about time that we gave back the ability to drive minibuses to B licence holders as it was before 1997 the schools are really struggling to take the students out on educational days out, due to the d1 being taken away from them there are now so many teachers who passed their test after 1997. Of course all B licence holders should have to under go a
    M.I.D.A.S course and have held a B licence for atleast 2 years and be over 21yrs of age

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