Teenagers to Drive HGV's | Descartes Routing UK

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Teenagers to Drive HGV's

HGV Driver young teenager


Latest update regarding teenage HGV drivers 

The UK Government is proposing that teenagers should be able to start their theory and training, as long as it is not on public roads before obtaining a bus, coach or HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) provisional licence. 

This will not affect the prerequisite for becoming a HGV driver but will allow them to experience operating a large vehicle and to undertake the theory and off-road manoeuvres test before obtaining their provisional licence. The aim here is to kickstart the route for more teenagers to consider driving as a career and help to alleviate the HGV driver shortage

A DfT consultation on the matter concludes on June 5th 2024 and you can have your say here. 


Could we see HGV drivers aged 17? 

At the end of 2023 European driving licence laws were reformed and formally agreed by the European Parliament’s transport committee.

The changes allow 17-year-olds to drive HGVs under an accompanied driving scheme. This is seen as a way to reduce the ongoing HGV driver shortage in Europe. Previously, only Finland, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Spain had allowed teenagers as young as 18 to drive HGV’s.  

With the UK still facing a massive shortage of van and HGV drivers the UK Government is also considering a similar law change to allow newly qualified drivers from the age of 17 to get behind the wheels of HGVs, vans, and minibuses. The current requirement is to be at least 18 years of age. A request for comments during the UK’s consultation, launched in Aug 2022, resulted in more than two-thirds (69%) of respondents saying drivers should be automatically entitled to drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes when they pass their driving test.  

The UK law preventing newly qualified drivers from operating certain vehicles was introduced 25 years ago when the UK first signed up to EU standards. Changing this rule could go some way to filling the current gap of around 60,000 HGV drivers.  

Younger drivers in the UK who passed their test after 1997 can currently only drive vehicles up to 3,500kg, or with up to 8 passengers or a trailer up to 750kg. In order for them to drive a HGV or van up to 7,500kg, younger drivers must pass theory and practical tests. For vehicles over 7.5 tonnes the driver must be 21 or older and have held a driving licence for a minimum of 2 years.  

“Reinstating the licence rights previously held by drivers before 1997 is certainly the fastest and easiest way the government can try to address the van and HGV driver shortage. However, reputable businesses will know that handing over the keys of a seven-tonne lorry to a newly qualified driver is not as simple as it sounds. Significant and meaningful training will still be required to ensure road safety standards don’t fall.”  Said Edmund King, president of the AA.  

As well as being easier to drive than 25 years ago trucks are now fitted with numerous safety devices and driver behaviour can be tracked with telematics devices to promote safety. Contact Descartes if you wish to discuss the fitting of telematics devices in your vehicles. 

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