Following on from the news this week from DVSA concerning vocational test changes we have had a large amount of correspondence from our members. Below is a summary of what we have collated so far so we can share information with you. We have been busy talking to members who are implicated in these changes.
The ADINJC will be supporting our members as we cannot understand the proposals to remove the need for a B+E test as suggested in the open letter proposals, primarily for the benefits of road safety, but also the livelihoods of ADIs and trainers who earn a living conducting this type of training and tests.
We are privileged to have Terry Bassingthwaighte, Deputy Vice Chairman of the National Trailer and Towing Association as a member.
Here is a link to a letter written from Government to the Logistics Sector.
The NTTA sent these details to their members.
Dear B & E members –
The NTTA has seen the letter which was published by the transport industry on 20th of July 2021, regarding making more tests available for vocational drivers gaining their LGV license.
The NTTA stands for Trailer safety and the importance of having this license qualification cannot be understated for the responsibility of towing and improving driver safety and knowledge when towing.
For a long time, the B+E regulations have been left on the side line and it is only within the last 5 to 10 years that it is has been taken seriously.
We are working VERY closely with ALL other agencies and the Government for consultation.
There is no word from Government to say that this is the final paper work so The NTTA are, and will continue to fight on your behalf for Trailer safety.
The NTTA response to the letter is here:
We are contacting you regarding the letter which was published to be transported industry today 20th of July 2021 regarding making more tests available for vocational drivers gaining their LGV license.
The idea of removing the need for people to pass a test to gain the licence to tow (B+E) Is something which should not be considered.
The safety implications alone would mean people being able to tow up to 7.5 tons car and trailer combinations on our highways with no experience or no training will definitely not be making a road safer.
With all that the department of transport has been working on with the hope of upgrading the test so you are able to take the test in an automatic and as long as you have a manual B license will automatically gain a manual B+E license was to improve driver training and move the testing forward to keep pace with modern vehicle, also looking at having the vehicle requirements upgrade so the combination of vehicle & trailer presented for test must be capable of towing over 3.5 tonnes was showing that they are taking the training and responsibility for safe driving for life forward to make towing and towing training far more responsible and respected.
For Such long time the B+E regulations have been left on the side line and it is only within the last 5 to 10 years that it is now been taken seriously.
With all national police forces and other agencies now working together to improve towing safety by organising regular roadside safety check & groups such as Justice for Freddie, #towsafe4freddie The APPG – Trailer safety working and pushing to improve towing safety this move is going totally against the grain for towing and driver safety.
The importance of having this license qualification cannot be understated for responsibility of towing and improving driver safety and knowledge when towing.
We at the National Trailer and Towing organisation having worked so hard with the department of transport, DVSA, DVLA, DFT, Highways England, National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service all the National police forces throughout the country. We sit at all tables with ref to trailers, towing and safety including SMMT, LTE, TUG NTWG and are part of the TIV in Europe. We cannot recommend this shift in mind set. This would lead to our roads becoming a far more dangerous place to be and even more unregulated trailers/caravans on our roads.
The government needs and should be working to improve towing safety and working with us to promote towing training.
So we as the NTTA implore the department of transport to NOT take this idea any further forward but to work with all of the agencies and ourselves to improve towing training.
If this is to go ahead as your outline in your document, could you please give a time limits on all of your proposals so we and ALL of our members, not just the B&E sector are aware.
If you wish to speak with anyone within the NTTA, please do not hesitate to contact me.
On behalf of the NTTA Association and its Council.
Sarah Smithurst MBE
Business Development Manager
National Trailer and Towing Association Ltd
Promoting Safe and Legal Towing
Letter from Member Karl Hunt, Diamond Training which he is sending to various MPs and organisations.
It was with much dismay that I read the open letter published on 20th July 2021 regarding making more tests available for vocational drivers to gain their LGV licence.
Whilst I appreciate that there is a need to increase the testing capacity for LGV (as a business we conduct LGV training and tests) I find it incredulous that the Government are even considering removing the need for an additional test for B+E entitlement for drivers in order to drive car/van and trailer combinations.
This will not do anything at all to maintain or improve driving standards and reduce KSI figures for this country, if anything it will increase the number of incidents involving vehicles towing trailers up to 3500kg, not only those wishing to take up caravanning in this country, for which there is a surge in demand due to the ongoing pandemic crisis, but will essentially allow any driver to tow heavily loaded trailers up to 3500kg, and therefore a combined weight of anything up to 7000kg on the road without any formal assessment of competence to do so.
DVSA figures themselves show that with a national pass rate for B+E driving tests of 69.6% for 2019/20 and only 58% for 2020/21 there are between 30-42% of people taking this test in order to tow over a 3500kg gross train weight that are unable to demonstrate the minimum standard of driving and competence to tow loaded trailers on the road on at least their first attempt.
There is also a Government report – Trailer Safety Report – published / printed on 18th July 2019 which under section 2.18 identifies 983 collisions involving vehicles towing single, multiple trailers and caravan (B+E category) of which 358 collisions were assigned to People related contributory factors, i.e the driver, this is 5 times higher than contributory factors assigned to either vehicle or road individually as contributory factors!
This would indicate that there is a need for formal testing and assessment of drivers with a requirement to tow on the road, and that the removal of such testing would do nothing to help with improving driving standards and safety on UK roads. After 18 years of delivering training for B+E tests the vast majority of candidates we deal with require some serious development even just on their basic driving standard, let alone the requirements and considerations for safe towing.
On a more personal note, should the requirement for an additional driving test be removed for new drivers to take the B+E driving test, and in the vast majority of cases, receive training and guidance on improving their basic driving standards, as well as demonstrating the competence to handle, manoeuvre and tow a loaded trailer safely and to a minimum required standard then this will have a major impact on my business, resulting in the lack of work for 4 driver trainers and our ability to operate a viable business.
I trust that you can understand my concerns regarding these proposals contained within the open letter and would appreciate and hope that should you be in a position to highlight these areas of concern or bear them in mind in any debates or meetings you may have regarding these proposals that you are able and willing to do so.
Other considerations from our members: Thank you to all who wrote in to us.
• Road safety, what about the Freddie campaign? What about all the fails even after training, virtually everyone would fail with no training. What about all the trailers stopped where the driver has no idea they are breaking the law on weigh limits, loading or securing?
• Currently B+E is also needed for work not just LGV
• Why not make the B+E a certificate not a licence. Still needed like forklift but signed off by the trainer?
• Why announce the big auto change if you already knew you were going to kill the B+E, lots bought new vehicles on the back of that announcement.
• How will this affect people wanting to drive outside the UK? Will they accept a B licence with B+E for free when they all have to pass a test?
• How will insurance be affected?
• What about all the small business that will be effectively killed off as soon as it goes public?
To conclude: A quote from member Richard Wilson
“I am still in shock that the DVSA is doing this & making me lose a business I have worked long & hard to build up. This on top of closing the local TC for LGV & PSV will be the end for me”.
ADINJC will be writing to Ministers as we fully support our members concerns.
Lynne Barrie ADINJC Chair