The UK government has moved to clear up the issue surrounding drivers whose vocational licences are set to expire during 2020.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapp announced it will temporarily remove the routine D4 medical test, allowing drivers with expiring licences to apply for a 12-month extension without needing to provide further medical evidence.
The government says the move will help keep 30,000 drivers on the road each month.
We can hear the collective sighs of relief from the UK’s trucking community from here.
However, drivers with health issues will still need to declare these, and those with health issues that prevent them from driving safely will not have their licence renewed.
As we reported previously, with GPs having suspended testing and specialist test centres temporarily closed, it was unclear how drivers who were due their mandated health checks we meant to keep themselves compliant with the law.
All truck drivers over the age of 45 must take a D4 medical test every five years, while those over 65 are required to get an annual check-up.
Shapp paid tribute to the “incredible” transportation and logistics industry which is “[keeping Britain moving]” during the coronavirus pandemic.
“By temporarily relaxing the requirement to provide a doctor’s medical report as part of the bus and lorry driving licence renewal process we will ensure that those who are fit to drive can continue delivering critical goods around the country and getting workers to the front line,” he said.
“This will also help to ensure doctors and nurses can continue their crucial efforts to fight coronavirus.”
This temporary change only applies to drivers whose licence is due to expire or have expired since 1 January 2020. The licence will only be valid for one year and then the driver will need to submit a completed D4 when the licence is next due for renewal.
It does without saying, however, the temporary measure could yet be extended, if required.