DVSA clarifies pending changes to PCV driving test structure

Changes to PCV driving test format clarified by DVSA

The reversing manoeuvre that currently forms part of the PCV driving test is to be removed from scope of the exercise when testing is undertaken by a DVSA examiner. It will instead be assessed by a DVSA-approved vocational trainer at an off-road area before the test is carried out, the Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed.  

However, when PCV testing is undertaken on a delegated basis – where the tester is employed by an operator – the process will not change. Those examiners will thus continue to assess the reversing manoeuvre as part of the test, the Agency has told routeone. 

Changes to how DVSA-conducted tests are structured form part of wider alterations to the vocational driver testing regime to increase the number of appointments available with DVSA examiners and tackle a significant backlog.

As a further part of that overhaul, drivers will be able to take a category D+E test without first passing category D. In that case, the uncoupling and recoupling exercise will also be assessed by an approved trainer when the test is conducted by a DVSA examiner. Where it is undertaken on a delegated basis, it will continue in the same manner as before. 

The same change will apply to category D1+E tests. Drivers will be able to take them without first needing to obtain category D1 entitlement. 

Making the changes across vocational categories will allow each DVSA examiner to carry out a further full test each day. In a written statement, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps told Parliament that the appropriate licencing regulations to make the changes will be laid “shortly.” 

Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Operations Director Keith McNally says that CPT has “sought, and been given, assurances by DVSA and DfT” that the additional test slots that are generated by the changes “will be made available to both the PSV and HGV sectors.” 

Mr McNally has also pointed out that “the majority” of PCV driving tests are already carried out by the private sector via delegated driving examiners and will thus be outside the scope of changes to the test structure.

Delegated testing “works well, and we have no reason to believe that properly qualified and authorised examiners employed by operators or trainers could not test candidates on the off-road manoeuvres,” he adds.