Update for lorry, bus and coach trainers following vocational test consultation outcome

Dear Colleagues,

Please see the latest update from the DVSA below:

We wrote to you on 10 September to inform you about the changes the government plans to introduce to help tackle lorry driver shortages.

Update for lorry, bus and coach trainers following vocational test consultation outcome

Since 16 September, you have not been able to book car and trailer tests via our online services. 

This change and the other planned changes will come into force as soon as possible and follow a public consultation held over the summer. To explain more about what these changes mean to you and your pupils, we have published guidance on changes to lorry and bus driving tests from autumn 2021 on GOV.UK.

Extra bus and lorry tests available

Since 16 September, you have not been able to book or name any existing car and trailer test via our online services.

As a result of stopping car and trailer tests we have added an additional 2,759 bus and lorry tests between Monday 20 September and 21 November in various locations across Great Britain.This includes:

  • 728 appointments in the Midlands
  • 1,055 appointments in North of England
  • 590 appointments in Scotland
  • 1,052 appointments in London and South

188 appointments in WalesWe are sharing this information with you to help give you an up-to-date picture of test availability in your area. You can use the trainer booker service to book these appointments.

There were 316 unsold vocational test appointments last week. We all have a crucial role to play in helping to tackle the worldwide HGV driver shortages. 

The booking service is constantly changing, so all the figures above might have changed by the time you read this email.

Requesting extra test appointments in your area

If you need extra test appointments and there are not currently any available in your area you can contact us to let us know.

Tell us how many test appointments you need and the area you need them in and we’ll see if have the available resource to support you. You can do this through the online booking service by:

  • logging in to the booking service
  • clicking on the ‘requests to the DVSA’ tab on the top menu
  • choosing ‘request additional trainer booking slots from the drop down menu

filling in the details for the test you need, and press sendWe recommend you take a screen print of the request confirmation screen and save this for future reference.The date and time you sent the request will be the request reference e.g.1509211059 – 150921 is the date the request was made and 1059 is the time the request was submitted.

Extra tests – removal of staging

We will also be increasing the number of lorry, bus and coach tests once the law has changed to allow:

  • learner lorry drivers to take an articulated lorry test without the need to pass a rigid lorry test first
  • learner bus and coach drivers to take a bus and coach test with a trailer, rather than having to pass a test without a trailer first

The government laid the legislation in Parliament for the change to the car and trailer testing on 16 September and we are aiming to introduce the change in November. 

The legislation for the change to staging is due to be laid in October and the earliest this change can be brought in would be 4 weeks afterwards, however this will be dependent on parliamentary processes so is likely to take longer.

We will keep you updated on the progress of both changes and confirm dates for the changes to be brought in when we can.

Off-road manoeuvres

To clarify, the change to allow a DVSA-approved trainer to assess the off-road manoeuvre in the future applies to lorry, bus and coach driving tests.

We will work closely with the industry on these plans and keep you updated. 

How your feedback will help shape the service

We have recently carried out a survey with vocational trainers which closed on Tuesday 14 September. Thank you to everyone who responded to this.

The aim of the survey was to find out how we can improve our support to vocational trainers and help build their business.  

We also asked trainers questions about whether they had access to an off-road manoeuvring area and about the risks and benefits of trainers assessing the off-road manoeuvre.

We will use this feedback and insight to help inform the plans we are developing in partnership with the industry to support this change.

We will publish details on how you can get involved in providing this service once the details are finalised.

We’ll keep you updated on new developments based on the survey feedback.


Peter J Harvey MBE

National Chairman


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