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DVSA under fire for HGV test examiners’ lack of experience

  • 24 July 2014
  • By Robin Meczes

The DVSA has defended its practice of putting car driving test examiners through their HGV licence acquisition to become HGV driving test examiners.

The agency also denied the suggestion that such newly qualified licence holders lack enough experience to judge test candidates properly. 

The response came after concerns about the practice surfaced in an anonymous letter to CM stablemate Truck Driver, apparently penned by an HGV test examiner after an internal DVSA recruitment drive among its car test examiners.

In the letter, the author suggested he and many other HGV driving test examiners were originally selected for the role because of their experience in driving trucks and their detailed technical knowledge. Claiming the practice of training up car test examiners was a “cavalier move”, he said it was “inappropriate and blatantly wrong that examiners who have only just passed their own lorry test should be passing judgement on others” . 

In response, a DVSA spokeswoman said it was a long-established practice dating back to 1935, when the car driving test was introduced.

“All driving examiners are highly skilled assessors and undergo regular training and development,” she said. “Many vocational examiners will have held HGV and/or PCV licences before becoming examiners, but we also train car examiners to gain licences and deliver tests in other vehicle categories. This means we can be more flexible and take advantage of the experience examiners already have in assessing driving skills and conducting tests.”

However, the DVSA has admitted that although the practice dated back to 1935 it was suspended at some point and only reintroduced in 2012. Since that time, 33 DVSA staff have taken their HGV test and gone on to join the pool of 330 HGV driving test examiners.

RHA head of training Arnold Monk said: “If someone passed an HGV test this morning, they wouldn’t be allowed to become an HGV driving instructor for three years. That suggests to me that someone examining really ought to have some experience of the job as a driver.”

  • This story originally appeared in CM 17 July. Make sure you pick up your copy of Commercial Motor at a newsagent or MSA for all the news and the best used truck and trailer deals. Or why not subscribe?


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