CM 29.01.15

CM 29.01.15

A consultation due to end next week about granting car drivers the automatic right to drive lorries up to 7.5-tonnes would increase the risk on the roads for everyone, according to a logistics training firm.

SP Training said the government’s own figures showed that C1 vehicles [vehicles between 3.5 - 7.5-tonnes] are involved in 23% of accidents involving goods vehicles over 3.5-tonnes, but they represent only 7% of the total distance travelled by goods vehicles over 3.5-tonnes.

“That fact alone is enough to forget about relaxing C1 and D1 licence rules,” said Robin Brown, chairman of SP Training.

The DVSA launched its “call for evidence” on driver licensing in August and it included the idea of widening the recruitment pool for medium-sized goods vehicles, which could attract more people to the industry amid the driver shortage, as well as supporting economic growth.

Former transport minister Karl McCartney said: “It is clear that, prior to 1997, new drivers of any age had the freedom to drive a wider variety of vehicles, including cars with trailers.

“I, the department for transport and government are seeking opinions on reverting to these ‘grandfather rights’.”

But Brown said that as the data suggested drivers of C1 vehicles have a higher rate of accidents than other HGVs per billion vehicle kilometres, there was probably a case for retraining and retesting these drivers rather than “give away C1 licenses piecemeal”.

He said: “Gifting car drivers C1 and D1 is a big step which would increase road risk for no significant tangible benefit and would have an adverse effect on road safety.”

The call for evidence runs until 28 October and more details can be found here: