Teenage truckers could solve delivery crisis as ministers plan to axe EU rules setting limits on newly-qualified drivers
- The proposal involves scrapping EU rules which the UK adopted 25 years ago
- It set limits on types of vehicle newly-qualified drivers can jump behind wheel of
- But Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said to be calling for change
- Comes as Britain’s shortage of lorry drivers is estimated to be up to 100,000
Teenagers may be allowed to drive lorries and minibuses under plans being considered by ministers to deal with driver shortages.
The proposal involves scrapping European Union rules which the UK adopted 25 years ago that set limits on the types of vehicles newly-qualified drivers can jump behind the wheel of.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey is said to be calling for the change.
She is said to believe it would create a bigger pool of drivers which supermarkets and logistics businesses could use to alleviate pressures on supply chains, The Sunday Times reported.
However, allowing younger and less experienced drivers behind the wheel of larger HGVs is likely to prompt criticism from road safety campaigners.
Britain’s shortage of lorry drivers is estimated to be up to 100,000.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey pictured arriving at Downing Street for a Cabinet meeting last month
It has hindered the speed at which shop shelves are re-stocked and fuel is delivered to forecourts.
Government officials are also considering relaxing MoT requirements so that drivers only need to get vehicles tested every two years rather than annually as part of plans to ease the cost of living.
However, motoring groups such as the RAC and AA say this would make Britain’s roads less safe.
Until 1997, once they passed their test, British drivers were automatically entitled to drive heavier vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes.
But this ceased after the UK adopted new EU licence categories, with new drivers having to undergo further tests to drive heavier vehicles.
Older motorists who qualified before this date retained the right to driver heavier vehicles under so-called ‘grandfather rights’.