DSA set to allow automatic gearboxes in LGV’s at driving tests
Changes by the Driving Standards Agency are to go ahead for removing the requirement for LGV vehicles that take a practical test to have a minimum of eight forward gears and is allowing automatic gearboxes to be assessed instead. The change will become effective in January 2014.
Those that take the driving test in an automatic vehicle will also receive a manual licence if they already hold a manual entitlement for a car, bus or lorry, with or without a trailer. Existing drivers will also be given a opportunity to exchange or upgrade their licence for a manual one if they already hold a manual entitlement for a car, bus or lorry, with or without a trailer.
Director at EP Training, Sean Pargerer, said that introducing the automatic driving tests was inevitable as most of the newer LGV vehicles come with an automatic gearbox. However Sean states that the tests may cause problems for drivers in the long run, I dont think that it will put them in good stead for employment, he said. I think it will make passing the test easier, but most small hauliers are still running manual trucks. Sean believes that the DSA should have given driver training providers more notice to invest in automatic trucks ahead of the new rules.
After a consultation of the proposals, the results showed that 52% of the 339 respondents supported the position that drivers who pass their test in an automatic vehicle should be given a manual licence if they already hold entitlement for another vehicle category. Half of the respondents also supported proposals to allow current holders of automatic licences to exchange this for a manual licence if they already hold entitlement in another category.
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