Published: 05 October 2015
The DVSA have fallen short of their promise to modify their examiner resource to meet the demand for HGV driving tests. 67% of test centres across the country have seen an increase in the average waiting time for a vocational examiner.
Recent figures show that at the beginning of August 2015, 33 out of 49 test centres, which offer HGV driver tests, had seen an increase in their waiting times when compared to figures from October 2014.
At the start of the year the DVSA said: ‘’We adapt our examiner resource to meet demand and have an ongoing programme to train examiners to deliver vocation tests.’’
The average waiting time has increased from 3.1 weeks to 5.4 weeks in the past 11 months. That is an increase of 75% which is unacceptable.
The most notable increases in waiting times came from test centres in Bristol and Leighton Buzzard, where waiting times have increased from 1 week to 11 weeks. In Watnall waiting times have risen from 3 weeks to 11 weeks and in Livingston they have increased from 3 weeks to 10 weeks.
5 test centres have kept the same average waiting times during the period and 11 test centres actually saw a reduction in waiting times.
The biggest cut in waiting times was in Kirkham where the average waiting time fell from 7 weeks to just 1 week.
Although the long-term trend shows a reduction in HGV licences being obtained, the latest statistics from the DfT show the number of newly qualified HGV drivers rose by 40% in Q1 2015.
Phil Lloyd, head of Operations at DVSA, said: ‘’demand for driving tests is increasing and we are working to ensure people can take their test as quickly as possible. As part of this, we are in the process of recruiting more HGV examiners. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the wait.’’
Candidates should check the DVSA online booking service for any cancellations.
At a time when the haulage industry needs to attract more qualified HGV drivers these increased waiting times could have a negative effect on those thinking about becoming a HGV driver.