Military driving examiners will start conducting HGV tests from next week as the country continues to struggle with a shortage of truckers.
Defence Driving Examiners from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will begin conducting tests from Monday, 11 October alongside regular staff from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
The DVSA says that by bringing in military staff it will be able to add thousands more HGV driving tests between now and Christmas.
The UK has been hit by a shortage of qualified HGV drivers which has led to the current fuel supply problems in some parts of the country as well as wider supply issues for supermarkets and other retailers.
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Brexit’s impact on foreign drivers working in the UK is thought to be partly to blame for the problem, along with tax changes which affected many self-employed drivers. Hauliers have also said that the Covid pandemic meant 25,000 fewer HGV tests were carried out in 2020 than in 2019, resulting in a shortage of new drivers and a backlog of testing.
Drafting in military staff to carry out tests is part of a Government effort to increase the number of active lorry drivers. It has also launched a recruitment drive for more civilian examiners and changed the laws around driving tests to speed up the process.
The MoD examiners will be assigned to the busiest testing centres around the country and will carry out five tests a day, five days a week.
Although carrying out civilian tests, the MoD staff will wear their military uniforms and use paper forms for some parts of the examination process rather than the tablet computers used by DVSA staff.
Members of the military have also been brought in to drive tankers as part of efforts to address the fuel crisis.