RHA criticises HGV driving test delays

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) and training providers have criticised long waiting times for HGV driving tests at DVSA sites, with some learner drivers having to wait almost three months.

Waiting times in Manchester top the list with an 11-week wait at Bredbury and an eight-week wait at Atherton.

Other areas facing long delays include Llantrisant (eight weeks), Peterborough (eight weeks), Wrexham (nine weeks), Darlington (six weeks), Gillingham (six weeks) and Birmingham, Garretts Green (six weeks).

RHA head of training Arnold Monk told Commercialmotor.com: “There’s no doubt that having to wait 11 weeks for a test is not good. The problem comes with re-tests – having to wait 11 weeks is an unrealistic timescale.”

Monk suggested that the waiting time could be improved if examiners were allowed to work on Saturdays.

Glynn Hughes, owner of North County HGV Driving School in Wigan, claimed waiting times at the DVSA’s Atherton site had got worse since the Driver CPC deadline, but said he had experienced issues with booking tests for the past 18 months.

Although waiting times at the DVSA’s Peterborough test centre have dropped to eight weeks from 10 (CM 16 October), Tom Woods, owner of C-Way Driver Training, said the wait is “still very serious”.

Jim Brady of A1 HGV Driving Training School in Bedfordshire, which also uses the Peterborough site, said: “Many of these drivers have jobs waiting for them. If you start sticking them somewhere else [to take their test] then they have to learn in a new area.”

A DVSA spokeswoman said the agency employs 212 examiners who are expected to conduct about 84,156 HGV tests in 2014-15. “The national average waiting time for HGV practical tests is about three weeks. We adapt our examiner resource to meet demand and have an ongoing programme to train examiners to deliver vocational tests.”

Figures obtained by Commercialmotor.com under a Freedom of Information request show that the national average waiting time for tests increased to four weeks at the end of October, after CM first highlighted the issue that month when the average waiting was put by the DVSA at three weeks.

However, figures published on the DVSA website earlier this month (5 December) showed that the average wait had dropped back to three weeks.

  • This story was published in the 11 December print edition of Commercial Motor. Why not susbcribe?