Photo of lorry stuck in Bristol harbour used to spread misinformation about HGV tests

25 October 2021
What was claimed

A photo of a lorry which fell into Bristol harbour, backside first, demonstrates why the government should not have taken reversing out of the HGV driving test.

Our verdict

The government hasn’t taken reversing out of the test. It was recently announced that a third party will carry out parts of the test, including reversing, for certain types of vehicles, instead of the DVSA. The photo of the lorry is from a genuine incident in Bristol.

A Facebook post states the government has taken reversing out of the HGV driving test, illustrated with a photo of an HGV with its backend partly submerged in a body of water. 

The picture is genuine.  The image is of a lorry which fell into Bristol harbour on 21 October

However, the claim about HGV driving tests is not correct. As we have written before, a now-closed government consultation from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) did suggest that parts of driving tests for certain types of medium and large vehicles, including manoeuvres off the road, could be carried out by a third party organisation, not the DVSA. 

These manoeuvres include a reversing exercise. The suggestion wasn’t to remove the reversing element of the test completely but to test it separately. 

The government has since announced that it would go ahead with this change stating:  “[HGV driving] Tests will also be made shorter by removing the ‘reversing exercise’ element – and for vehicles with trailers, the ‘uncoupling and recoupling’ exercise – and having it tested separately by a third party.”

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.