The DfT reveal plans to improve and streamline the motoring agencies as well as tackle the HGV driver shortage as part of a wide ranged review of UK motoring services.
The review aims to streamline public services and reduce costs to the taxpayer. The plan includes proposals to increase the pass rate of driving tests.
At the moment only 21% of driving tests result in a first time pass, with the majority of driving tests being repeat examinations. DfT proposes that the driving test fee would be decreased by requiring learners to pay a deposit when they take their driving test, which they would get back if they pass.
There are proposals to review the fees for all services provided by the DVLA (Driver & Vehicle Licencing Agency), DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) and VCA (Vehicle Certification Agency). There will also be a review to see if changing providers or combining services would be beneficial.
The private testing of HGVs will be considered as they look into ways to combat the current shortage of HGV drivers, which is one of the largest issues facing the haulage industry today. Improving the application process and making it easier for information sharing between agencies could help HGV drivers obtain their licence quicker and start work sooner.
Transport Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “This is a bold and ambitious approach aimed at putting the user at the heart of everything the motoring agencies do.
“They provide a valuable public service, from issuing driving licences to taking dangerous vehicles off our roads and I want to make sure they are able to operate in the most effective way.”
in response to the changes, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “We think that now is a good time to take stock of where the DVLA and DVSA are, and how they can best meet motorists’ needs in what is a rapidly changing automotive environment.
“It is no coincidence that this latest plan for ‘innovative and streamlined’ motoring services comes at a time when the department is under pressure to deliver huge budget cuts for the Treasury.
“We trust that these improvements will deliver efficiencies for the motoring agencies and their customers, as promised.”
Commenting on plans to tackle the LGV driver shortage, Keaney added: “The BVRLA has been calling for private sector testing of HGVs for some time, as we believe this would build on the successful roll out of ATFs by providing an even more flexible and efficient testing service for operators.
“We continue to work closely with the DVSA on its support its plans to develop a more targeted enforcement regime that focuses on non-compliant fleets while recognising the commitment that BVRLA members have made to safe HGV operations.
“Both these initiatives would produce real benefits for the road transport sector.”