In October 2022 The Department for Transport (DfT) launched a call for evidence that sought views on potential opportunities to improve our driving licensing regime. They wished to explore whether there are any further opportunities that could be available to them that were partly due to the fact that we had left the European Union and had the freedom to change our legislation to improve our testing and licensing regime. These include whether to grant drivers who have category B car licence entitlement additional entitlement to category C1 (7.5 tonnes) goods vehicle entitlement and whether to grant drivers who have a category B licence entitlement to a minibus category D1 licence.
CTA have been discussing this issue with DfT for some time and were pleased that we had this opportunity to gather the evidence and impact that any changes would have for the Community Transport sector. Our Director for England fed into the development of this call and CTA hosted an event with DfT in August 22 to enable an opportunity for members to share their views directly with policy makers.
Update June 2023
The DfT have released a summary report on the evidence submitted. The full results of the D1 licence questions run from page 52- 64.
The summarised findings indicate strong support for CTA’s stance on the necessity of changing the D1 requirement. This change would help us overcome a significant hurdle in volunteer and staff recruitment, as many respondents shared this viewpoint.
Safety is of utmost importance to CTA and its members, and we prioritise driver training accordingly. The results of the call highlight widespread agreement on this matter. CTA stance is that by implementing comprehensive driver training, we can address concerns raised and provide assurance that road safety won’t be compromised.
Of 2,052 who answered the question, most (73%) were supportive. This included three in ten (31%) who were supportive with additional stipulations.
The main additional stipulation that was selected was that of drivers having a minimum age (86%). This is an area which CTA has had mixed conversations with members on as some have raised the benefit of being able to recruit university students while some raising the potentially limited driving experience and the safety implications. CTA did raise the age limit with their partner Endsleligh to understand the cost implication for members but were unable to get a clear position on the impact a reduced age restriction would have.
Undertaking additional training such as MiDAS was a popular recommendation (49%). CTA believe that this should be a requirement as it aims to ensure that services are operated safely. Those that were unsupportive of the changes raised safety concerns as their main reason (92%).
All consultees were then asked about impact on supply of minibus drivers if the requirement to obtain a D1 licence to drive a minibus were to be removed. Most (84%) believed this would increase the supply of such drivers
The released report only includes the results from the call. We have regular meetings with the DfT, and through these discussions, we will support and influence the next steps. The DfT will be conducting further investigations to understand the safety implications of the potential changes and if implemented what measures will ensure no negative impact on road safety. Throughout this process, CTA will collaborate with the DfT to provide necessary information as needed.
Currently, we don’t have specific timelines, but we will keep you updated as we receive more information to share.
CTA submitted a response to the call which can be found here
Within this response we raise that we believe changing D1 licencing to grant drivers who have a category B licence entitlement to a minibus category D1 is vital for the future of the CT sector. This change will alleviate some of the current driver shortages that
are caused by the current D1 licensing system that threaten the sector’s future and the provision of essential transport services
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