DVSA Update: UK National Lockdown Restrictions

Following Government announcement on Monday 4th January, DVSA have provided the latest information regarding the new UK National lockdown restrictions.

  • All vocational lessons and tests will be suspended from 5th January until the restrictions are lifted.
  • All theory tests will be suspended from 5th January until the restrictions are lifted.
  • In-vehicle Driver CPC training must not take place, but remote training can continue via conferencing software, such as Zoom, Teams and Skype. Classroom training is suspended until the restrictions are lifted. 
  • In-person NRI exams will unfortunately not be able to take place and are suspended from 5th January until the restrictions are lifted.
  • Remote Driver CPC exams and Instructor and Assessor theory exams can be arranged, please do get in touch with us for further information. ​

DVSA will email anyone who has booked a test and is affected by this to let them know the theory test is on hold and that they will need to reschedule it by visiting https://www.gov.uk/change-theory-test

If you booked your pupils theory test you will need to log into the booking system and rearrange their test for a new date and time.

If you have any concerns or questions please do get in touch with us.

For further guidance, or if you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

NRI at a glance: December 2020

In common with LGV training and testing, NRI examinations in 2020 have been affected by national and local restrictions relating to COVID-19.  Despite this there has been a steady demand for all three NRI examinations, LGV Instructor, LGV Assessor and Driver CPC Instructor.

Through our website and social media pages we have provided relevant, up to the minute information to LGV instructors, assessors and Driver CPC instructors from DVSA and national governments as LGV driver training and testing has been restricted or prohibited. We’ll continue to do this during 2021.

There are currently 506 NRI-Registered LGV Instructors. A total of 434 LGV Instructor examinations have been taken since NRI was launched in January 2017. 

We introduced the LGV Assessor examination in 2019 and 43 assessors have passed the exam and joined the register.

May 2020 saw the launch of the Driver CPC Instructor examination and despite the impact of COVID, 15 candidates have passed the exam and joined the register.

To support the growth in NRI examinations, expansion of the UK network of NRI examination centres continues, with 23 in place and others currently in the approval process. The majority of these examination centres provide training courses to prepare NRI examination candidates.

The NRI is responsible for issuing Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicle Training Certificates on behalf of the Department for Transport and we’ve issued 1,179 certificates since the end of August 2019.  This training can only be delivered by NRI registered LGV Instructors.  To support this, NRI has created training materials for Alternatively Fuelled Vehicle Training, these are compliant with the published syllabus and include an Instructor PowerPoint. These are available to any NRI Registered Instructor for £35 +VAT.

Interested in finding out more? Get in touch with our team.

DVSA Update 30th November: Wearing Face Coverings On Driving Lessons and Tests in Scotland

It is now law in Scotland to wear a face covering during a driving test and on driving lessons.

If a pupil cannot wear a face covering, they must tell DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) before arriving for their test.

The driving examiner can refuse to carry out the test if they or their pupil are not wearing a face covering when you arrive at the test centre. DVSA will not refund these tests.

The examiner will not refuse if you both live in the same household, or you have a good reason not to wear one.

Good reasons not to wear a face covering include:

  • a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability
  • wearing a face covering would cause severe distress

For further guidance, or if you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

DVSA COVID-19: Conducting Driving Tests (Vocational) SOP

To help you prepare your candidates for vocational tests while COVID-19 measures are in place, DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) has shared its updated Standard Operating Procedure SOP for COVID-19: Conducting Driving Tests (Vocational). This SOP outlines the procedures DVSA examiners will follow in conducting a driving test as well as updates including:

  • Face coverings in Scotland
  • Cleaning of vehicles
  • Ventilation
  • Accompanied tests

Download the COVID-19: Conducting Driving Tests (Vocational) SOP.

This SOP was last updated on 5th November 2020.

Important Information: DVSA Update – England Lockdown – November to December 2020

Wednesday 11th November 2020.

National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) received an update from DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) today – 11th November 2020 – advising that Driver CPC Instructor training can be carried out in a suitable Covid-secure classroom-style location environment if it is not possible to deliver the training remotely. All in-cab LGV and Driver CPC training and testing will remain suspended during the second national lockdown – 5th November to 2nd December 2020.

In the light of this update, NRI practical examinations for LGV Instructors and LGV Assessors will also be suspended during the lockdown, but that NRI Driver CPC Instructor training and examinations can be delivered remotely via webinar or video-conferencing software, such as Zoom, Teams and Skype. Due to the Covid-19 situation this year we understand that remote training and examinations are new to many of you and we offer full support in setting up, so please contact us.

Examination Centres: Centres wishing to offer these theory and remote examinations should contact NRI.

Registered Instructors/Assessors: Instructors and Assessors needing to take these theory and remote examinations should contact their NRI Exam Centre or training provider in the first instance.

Tuesday 3rd November 2020.

Vehicle testing 

The national restrictions do not affect the DVSA heavy vehicle testing service and ATFs can remain open. DVSA can continue to provide the vehicle standards assessors needed to test heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) safely. You should only book your vehicle or trailer in for its test close to its MOT due date. This will make sure vehicles and trailers which legally need a test can get one. You should continue to manage the regular maintenance and inspection schedule for your vehicles and trailers. This is a legal requirement under your operator’s licence.

Vocational theory tests

Vocational theory tests will be affected during the national restrictions in England. All theory tests will be suspended from Thursday 5 November and restart on Wednesday 2 December 2020. DVSA is emailing everyone with a test booked in England to let them know their test has been put on hold and they will need to reschedule it here. Driver CPC courses can continue during these dates if they are delivered online. All face to face CPC courses will be suspended until Wednesday 2 December.

Monday 2nd November 2020.

In light of the Prime Ministers update on Saturday 31st October 2020 around further lockdown measures being introduced in England, DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) are working closely with the Government to agree the impact these will have on DVSA services.

Driver and rider training and tests will be suspended in England from 5th November until 2nd December 2020. DVSA will be contacting affected test candidates in due curse.

Following these guidelines, National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) practical examinations (for LGV Instructor and LGV Assessor) will also be suspended during this time. As we did during the spring ‘lockdown’ NRI will conduct NRI theory examinations and remote in-class practical examinations.

Driver CPC Instructor examinations are still able to be conducted completely remotely however, we recommend training with an exam centre before presenting for the exam.

Examination Centres: Centres wishing to offer these theory and remote examinations should contact NRI.

Registered Instructors/Assessors: Instructors and Assessors needing to take these theory and remote examinations should contact their NRI Exam Centre or training provider in the first instance.

If you have any concerns or questions please do get in touch with us.

LGV Practical Driving Test pass rates rise with NRI

Improving Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) practical test pass rates

New DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) data for Great Britain shows that in 2019/20, 40,000 LGV drivers passed their Practical Driving Test. A longer look at the data shows that pass rates have been improving. In 2007/08 the overall UK pass rate was 46% but by the end of 2019/20 it had reached 59%. This means that investment in LGV driver training is increasingly likely to result in a successful outcome.

Why are rates improving?

National Standards

DVSA examiners use the national driving standards; set and maintained by experts at DVSA. Test performance, on the open road and during the manoeuvres is assessed entirely against these standards. Whether tests are carried out at DVSA test centres or at test centres based at driver training schools or at haulage companies, the test standard is the same. These standards underpin the familiar Driving Test Report form (DL25) which all candidates are given at the end of their test.   These standards have not changed in the past ten years, so the answer to the improvement in test pass rates must lie elsewhere.

Better Training

LGV driver training takes place through in-company driver training schools or through specialist LGV driver training organisations. In both settings, the past ten years have seen a number of changes which help explain the improving LGV practical test pass rates:

  • Professional Instructors

Road Haulage companies, driver training schools and individual instructors have invested in training and development. They’ve recognised that to prepare candidates properly, the knowledge and skills of professional instructors need be up to date and accurate. Since 2017, over 550 individual LGV Instructors have demonstrated their professionalism by joining the National Register of LGV Instructors. The independent, DVSA-backed exam thoroughly tests their knowledge of driving theory, Highway Code, in-cab and classroom instructional skills to make sure they work to a consistently high quality, enabling them to give their pupils the best opportunity to build their own knowledge and skills. 

  • Professional Facilities

23 LGV driver training organisations have demonstrated their commitment to professional LGV Instructors by becoming NRI examination centres. As well as ensuring their own instructors are members of the NRI, they offer their modern and professional facilities and expertise to all LGV Instructors, Assessors and Driver CPC Instructors who want to build their instructional skills and achieve the NRI qualification. LGV Driver training increasingly takes place in an environment which is more conducive to acquiring professional driving skills.

  • Better Vehicles

The vehicles currently used in road haulage fleets are significantly more sophisticated than they were ten years ago. The most obvious change is the widespread use of automatic gearboxes, but a range of improvements mean that vehicles are less physically demanding to drive, enabling a driver to focus on more precise control of the vehicle. This improved specification is increasingly reflected in the vehicles used for training, both in-house and by driver training schools. 

For more information on NRI qualifications and how to join the register, please contact our team who will be happy to help.

September 2020 Update: DVSA Vocational Training Virtual Meeting

Last week (28th September 2020), National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) held a virtual meeting with Driver Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA) to discuss current issues in vocational driver testing. The session started with an update from Mark Winn, DVSA’s Chief Driving Examiner on their Covid-19 response and the restart of LGV testing.

This led to a lively sharing of experiences and ideas based on questions from NRI registered instructors and examination centres, focussing on the measures in place as a result of Covid-19. Those attending asked that NRI and DVSA arrange another session as the restart programme continues. Key messages from the meeting were:

Capacity

  • DVSA are working to get back to a national, 3-week appointment availability – the pre-pandemic level of service – as soon as possible.
  • Capacity was boosted from 28th September when extra/overtime test slots became available and will increase again from 19th October 2020 when LGV examiners will resume carrying out 4 tests per day.

Local lockdowns

  • So far, DVSA have been able to continue operating during the new local lockdown rules, across England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Unlike March 2020, DVSA now have Covid-related standard operating procedures, Covid-secure sites, office social distancing, stockpiles of face coverings and sanitiser.

What should instructors and candidates do on test day?

  • Make sure that candidates follow the government’s guidelines on staying safe.
  • Face coverings are mandatory on a driving test unless an exemption is declared at the time of booking. Candidates should practice in one that fits suitably in advance of their test. If misting up of glasses becomes a road safety concern the candidate will be directed back to the test centre where the test will be terminated.
  • Instructors with valid medical exemptions are allowed to remove masks at Test Centres.
  • There is restricted access and movement around driving test centres. This means that waiting rooms are closed, but given the winter months are coming, DVSA are looking at possible options to resolve this.

Test Bookings

  • DVSA recognise the problems the current, significant wait time for theory tests are creating and are looking at measures to increase theory test availability.
  • The booking system is a national service, which means that training companies are entitled to book tests in all areas, provided ‘local lockdown’ restrictions prohibiting movement are not in place.
  • The number of tests on the booking system opening day is designed to share the overall number out fairly based on the booking history.

Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicles (AFV) – training only you can deliver

The National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) is responsible for issuing Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicle (AFV) training certificates on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT) and since the end of August 2019, we’ve issued 965 certificates. This training is delivered by NRI registered LGV Instructors.

To support this, NRI has created training materials for Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicle (AFV) Training. NRI registered LGV instructors are amongst an exclusive few permitted to offer AFV training, providing certain rules are followed. NRI’s AFV Training Pack is compliant with the published syllabus and include an Instructor PowerPoint. From just £35 + VAT, the Training Pack is split into three course sessions:

  1. Operation and driving behavior of the AFV’s you will be driving (Electric or LNG or Hydrogen)
  2. Important legal, safety and vehicle operating issues which apply all van drivers
  3. Practical session

To purchase your copy, please get in touch.

An AFV is classed as a motor which is powered by either electricity, natural gas, biogas, hydrogen or hydrogen and electricity.

UK law now permits Category B driving licence holders to drive an alternatively-fuelled vehicle weighing up to 4.25 tonnes. The recent change in legislation will enable organisations to introduce AFV into their fleets, as well as supporting the government and the light commercial vehicles sector in increasing its access to cleaner alternatives. Under the new legislation, the AFVs should not be driven outside of Great Britain or tow a trailer, and must be used for the transportation of goods.

Drivers must have completed a minimum of 5 hours training which follows the syllabus published by the Department of Transport in order to be permitted to operate the vehicle.

Anyone found driving an AFV vehicle up to 4.25 tonnes on a Category B licence without having completed 5 hours of training will be guilty of an offence under the Road Traffic Act (1998).

Upon completion of successful AFV training, NRI must be contacted to issue a certificate of training (provided to us by Dft) to the driver. This certificate can then be used as evidence to prove to third parties that the required training has been completed. The legislation stipulates that training can only be delivered by members of the DVSA endorsed NRI, or by members of the NVDIR.

Learn more about Training for Drivers of Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicles.

New Driver CPC guidance published

On Wednesday 22nd July, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) announced changes to the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) Directive following the consultation earlier this year.

What has changed? 

Following publication of the response, DVSA amended the law to allow these changes to come into force. The changes include:

  • Exemptions from Driver CPC
  • Periodic training
  • Recognition of Swiss CPC

You can read the full list of changes and see how they may affect you by visiting the updated guidance pages on GOV.UK.

You must have Driver CPC if you drive a lorry, bus or coach as the main part of your job. You must do 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to keep it. You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving professionally without Driver CPC. 

If you have any questions about these changes, please get in touch with us on +44 (0)1952 520210 or contact us here.

DVSA releases ‘screens in vehicles used for driving tests’ policy

Driver/front passenger screens in vehicles used for driving tests.

Screens between the driver and front passenger in vehicles used for driving tests and driver training provide limited benefits in protecting people from coronavirus.  Key guidance from Public Health England (PHE), is that frequent handwashing with soap and water, (or the use of suitable alcohol gels where facilities are unavailable), coupled with an appropriate vehicle cleaning regime, are the best ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Face coverings must also be worn during driving tests, unless an individual is exempt and has notified DVSA of a medical reason for not wearing one.

These screens can restrict vision of the candidate or the road and may prevent quick exit from the vehicle in an emergency.  The screens can also prevent an instructor or examiner taking action in the event of an emergency, for example by using the steering wheel. Incorrectly installed or non-approved screens may also cause injury in the event of a crash where the air bags or other restraint systems are deployed.

For these reasons examiners must not conduct driving tests in vehicles fitted with screens between the driver and front passenger unless the vehicle has been tested with the screen in place. This does not apply to buses and other similar vehicles where screens are routinely fitted as part of normal operations. These vehicles are subject to routine testing to ensure they are safe.  For other vehicles including cars, where after-market screens are fitted, an IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval) test certificate will be required to show that the vehicle is safe.

If a vehicle (other than a bus) is presented for a driving test with a screen fitted between the driver and front passenger examiners should allow a reasonable period time for the candidate or accompanying driver to remove the screen, especially if it is a temporary screen. If the screen cannot be readily removed the test must not go ahead and should be shown as test terminated, vehicle not suitable for test.