More people may be allowed to drive 7.5T horseboxes under new proposals

  • Drivers could be allowed to drive lorries up to 7.5t without taking an additional test in new Government proposals.

    A return to previously held “grandfather rights”, by which those who passed the driving test before 1 January 1997 could drive larger vans and smaller lorries, including horseboxes, up to 7.5t, is among options being considered by the Department for Transport (DfT).

    Under current rules, those with a standard car licence may only drive vehicles weighing up to 3.5T, which led to increased demand for small horseboxes.

    The DfT is looking at “options to streamline driver licensing and support jobs” in a call for evidence to “help create new opportunities in logistics and support the UK supply chain”. An effect of this would be to give many more horse owners the right to drive a horsebox weighing up to 7.5T.

    H&H reported last year on the Government’s decision to scrap the trailer test as part of plans to tackle the HGV driver shortage, so most drivers can now tow a horse trailer without an extra test.

    Efforts to mitigate the “global driver shortage” continue, which the Government hopes will support new jobs and “bolster the UK’s supply chain”.

    “The views submitted by members of the public and industry professionals will help answer important questions and assist the government with ongoing research into how post-Brexit freedoms are used to remove red tape and create opportunities for people across the country,” a DfT spokesman said.

    “Questions around reintroducing grandfather rights explore whether the UK should allow those who hold a normal car driving licence to drive certain larger vans or smaller lorries up to 7.5 tonnes. Prior to 1 January 1997, people who passed their driving test for a normal car also obtained the right to drive heavier, larger vehicles – these entitlements were removed by the EU.

    “No decisions have been made on whether these rights should be reintroduced and the Government is keen for views from a wide range of stakeholders to inform its future approach to the issue, as well as the rest of the areas under consideration in the call for evidence.”

    The spokesman added that any changes would “need to ensure” safety on the roads and be “economically proportionate”, and that there could be age- or experience-based restrictions, which is covered in the questions asked in the call for evidence.

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