Tougher Testing For Hgvs On The Horizon

Find out why the FTA called out the DVSA’s testing process for those doing delivery work...

The Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency(DVSA) testing service has a big impact on anyone doing delivery work. But last month a spokesperson for the Freight Transport Association claimed that it is no longer fulfilling its purpose.

In light of the Freight Transport Association’s recent call for a review of HGV assessments in the UK, this article provides an overview of the changes the association is proposing the DVSA makes to their process.

What’s the Problem?

So why has the FTA decided to challenge the system that the DVSA has in place?

The FTA’s Director of Policy, Elizabeth de Jong, challenged the DVSA by claiming that they’re not measuring whether their vehicle tests deliver for both vehicle operators and legislators. Ms de Jong wants the testing processes to be fully reviewed and for independent examinations to be seriously considered.

Who Will Carry Out the Review?

Although the FTA has stated that the delivery work industry should contribute to the review, they say the government is the right organisation to lead it. This is because, at the end of the day, it is government decision makers who must approve any changes.

What Changes Should be Made?

·         Elizabeth de Jong complained about the current lack of evidence of good service delivery. Work must be done, therefore, to increase clarity and understandingfor everyone involved in vehicle testing. The industry wants reassurance that the DVSA is providing the country with a useful and efficient service.

·         The FTA has identified a set of metrics that will help the DVSA and the delivery work industry identify problems, as well as resolutions. These includetesting hours allocated each month, booked hours cancelled by the DVSA every month andthe number of tests cancelled by customers each month. De Jong argued that these metrics should be available to the public in order to prove the efficiency of the scheme.

·         The FTA states that Civil Service pay bands are limiting the recruitment of engineers. They suggest that the process could be moved into the private sector so more attractive wages could be offered. There are worries that the lack of engineers carrying out the tests will lead to vehicles having to stay off the roads, which could cause disruption to both the logistics industry and the general public. There are also suggestions that operators who can show they meet the standards should be able to carry out their own assessments. The DVSA has been developing this scheme over the past few years and has identified operators they trust to conduct the process.

The FTA has pointed out that in both 2012 and 2016 the government made commitments to examine the problem of testing in the UK in their Motoring Service Strategies. In fact, the DVSA’s own five-year plan includes a review of testing. The FTA believes that now is the perfect time to review the current system and potentially develop a new one that works well for everyone.

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Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery work with available drivers. Over 5,000 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships. 

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