Fast-tracking lorry driver tests will lead to more crashes and rising insurance premiums, ministers have been warned.
Insurance bosses are concerned that truck drivers will not have enough time to learn the necessary skills before being allowed on to Britain's roads.
Ministers announced plans to combat a shortage of more than 100,000 lorry drivers last week that have wreaked havoc across supply chains and led to a range of shortages from McDonald's milkshakes to cement.
Separate tests for both articulated and non-articulated lorries that must be completed at least three weeks apart will now be combined under government proposals.
Jon Dye, director of underwriting at QBE, a business insurance specialist, warned that the proposals will make the roads more risky.
"The combining of … tests is likely to mean that prospective drivers have less time to develop their hazard perception skills and research has shown that drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes involving speed and manoeuvring due to poorer hazard perception and familiarity with the vehicle," he said.
Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at Logistics UK, said that access to tests was "a key barrier to recruits wishing to join the occupation".
Industry leaders have said that although Brexit, and an associated shortage of drivers from the Continent may have played a role in the shortages, a chronic shortfall pre-dates the UK's exit from the European Union. It had also been exacerbated by a slowdown in testing and this summer's "pingdemic" taking hauliers off the road.
Mr Dye warned that the heightened risk of accidents would lead to increased costs for logistics firms.
"If the actions to address the shortage, whether by the government in relation to speeding up HGV driving tests or by fleet operators reducing training and induction periods, results in less skilled drivers and therefore a likely increase in accidents, we would anticipate an uplift in insurance premiums to compensate," he said.
A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers added: "We appreciate that action may be needed to tackle any supply issues related to HGV drivers across the UK. It will be important to ensure that steps that are taken do not compromise the safety of drivers and other road users."
A Department for Transport spokesman said: "The set of measures we are introducing to alleviate HGV driver shortages do not compromise on safety. The testing process has been streamlined and widely welcomed by the haulage industry. These measures will provide a rapid increase in capacity and will allow for an extra 50,000 tests to take place per year."
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