Training specialist attacks 'ludicrous' Government decision to axe driver trailer tests

A driver training specialist is extending his offering of courses to combat the "ludicrous" Government decision to axe trailer towing tests.

Caravan towing test training at Salop Leisure
Caravan towing test training at Salop Leisure

Steve Dulson of Dulson Training, which has bases in Shrewsbury, Telford and Wrexham, says it is essential for drivers to continue to have formal training as he believes the change to the law will have a major impact on road safety.

The law, which comes into effect later this autumn, has been pushed through by the Government as a way of freeing up examiner availability so that new HGV drivers can be tested more quickly in a bid to ease the national driver shortage – something Mr Dulson disputes will actually happen.

The trailer towing test has been needed by anyone who passed their car driving test since 1997 and wanted to tow things like a trailer, caravan or horsebox – with the towed trailer and its load not exceeding 3,500kg.

Mr Dulson said: “It’s a shocking decision. The commitment we have put into promoting trailer safety and trailer tests and to think that has now just dropped off the face of the earth, it’s pure madness.

“There is a massive road safety aspect to all this and I would have bet any money that the Government would not have gone ahead with it. It’s a ludicrous decision to axe trailer testing and It’s going to cause a lot of people a lot of problems and harm, bringing more danger onto the roads.

“It will impact road safety, has already closed some businesses and we don’t think it’s a decision that will ultimately help the driver shortage. Indeed, a high percentage of people within the industry – professional bodies, training providers and companies employing people to tow trailers – all responded during the consultation period saying it was not a good idea.”

Mr Dulson said he wanted to make people aware of the changes, warn them that the new laws have not come into force yet and impress upon drivers the importance of still getting formal trailer towing training.

“Trailer towing training should still be undertaken and we will do a basic safe-towing course so drivers have a basic understanding and a head’s start if they are about to start towing. We will also offer a fully comprehensive course designed to bring drivers up to test standard, or even beyond test standard,” he added.

“Government advice, although it is only advice, is that anyone towing should still undertake training and I can’t impress upon drivers enough just how important this is because there is so much involved in towing a trailer.

“Our courses are aimed at private individuals and companies and will be documented, certificated and written reports given so there is actually some evidence that if you are going into a public place with a trailer you have been trained and are safe to do that.

“The other aspect to consider with the changes and one that is not totally clear yet, is how it will affect insurance. We are hearing that some insurance companies are likely to increase premiums if you haven’t done some training, and companies may be in trouble if there are injuries in the workplace or damage to equipment – but we are still waiting to see what will happen on all that.

“The trailer market has probably suffered over the last two decades because of the need for a test but now a lot more people will go out and buy trailers and caravans and a number of them won’t be properly trained. It’s interesting that a lot of our corporate customers who had drivers waiting to take the trailer test have committed to continuing with the training – they still want those people to be properly trained."

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