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RED Driving School has claimed that new government plans to deregulate LGV licensing could risk the safety of road users.

The government proposals would mean that newly qualified car drivers are allowed to get behind the wheel of seven-tonne lorries without the need for extra training.

The driving school, which also performs corporate driver training, says that this new measure, along with access to newly permitted longer semi-trailer (LST) lorries, means essential training will be lost, creating a significant risk to road safety.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced that longer lorries were allowed to operate on UK roads from the 31st of May 2023, after new legislation was brought in.

This comes as part of the government’s response to the UK HGV driver shortage, in which they’re attempting to fund additional training for new HGV drivers, increase the number of tests and encourage more drivers to join the industry.

Today, drivers who have a category B car licence are only able to drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes, or up to 4.5 tonnes for alternatively fuelled vehicles. They must pass an additional theory and practical test in order to drive vehicles from 3.5 to seven tonnes, as well as undergo a medical assessment to ensure they are fit to operate the lorries.

Seb Goldin, CEO of RED Driving School, said: “We understand the need to address the commercial vehicle driver shortage in the UK, but the government’s approach of simply deregulating licensing requirements is not the right approach.

“These vehicles require extensive training to operate in a safe manner – we can’t simply do away with the need for training because it goes hand-in-hand with improving road safety for all users.

“Removing these requirements creates a huge gulf in knowledge, which is quite scary when you think an 18-year-old who has just passed their driving test could be handed the keys to a 7.5-tonne lorry. We urge the Government to rethink this plan.”

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