Dear Sir,
From 1st January 1997 to tow a large trailer a driver had to sit a test set by the DVSA, these changes created the need for companies like mine to supply the training for drivers wishing to hold this licence.
On the 10th September 2021 the DVSA announced that they will no longer be conducting B+E trailer tests to make room for more HGV tests and are expecting for the law to change back to as it was pre-1997. This announcement has had a staggering effect on me and many hundreds of other small businesses.
From that one email my business income has stopped.
I have been a driving instructor for close to 30 years and worked tirelessly for the last 15 to grow this part of my business, on target to sit around 400 B+E driving tests in the 12 months following Covid shutdown.
Certainly, putting us amongst the largest of B+E trainers in the North East. We are a family run business with my partner working in the office and myself with other family members and staff conducting the training. I have invested in vehicles and trailers, a rented hard standing plot to conduct our reversing exercise, taken a bounce back loan, upgraded our computer system etc.
My vehicles and the bounce back loan still have to be paid for, I have wages to pay but no income because of this heartless, reckless decision to stop B+E tests. Do I sell my vehicles at a loss, make my staff and family redundant? Should I hold on and wait for the government to advise me on what proposals they have for road safety?
We, as an industry have been forgotten, no help or advice offered, simply dismissed by an email on that Friday night.
This decision has been made as a knee jerk reaction to the lack of HGV drivers but no thought has been given to the people working in this industry, or to road safety.
If this law change is put in place any driver will be allowed to hitch a large trailer, caravan to a car or pickup truck and drive without any experience or training, yet the DVSA say it will have no effect on road safety. If this is true then how have many thousands of drivers failed to reach the test standard set by the DVSA even after training? Are we, as a country, really prepared to step back nearly 25 years in road safety and endanger our public and road users as a reaction to the lack of HGV drivers?
Over the last few days, I have seen and listened to Grant Shapps on TV, in my expert opinion he has no idea on what he is doing or saying.
He said it takes about three weeks to become an HGV driver, it takes longer than that to book the medical, then around 10 weeks for the DVLA to send a provisional licence, followed by driver training, a driver CPC and then test – 3 weeks!
He also stated that 50,000 HGV driving tests made available are getting snapped up. This is simply not true, the examiners are sitting in the test centres with no work and thousands of tests available.
In my opinion the government are going completely the wrong way about things, they are destroying businesses like mine and endangering the public by simply not looking at the real cause of this problem.
The government decisions are destroying jobs, endangering road safety and are so inefficient to the point that MPs are prepared to lie on national TV.
Jack Braley
Jack’s Driving School