Learner drivers will be able to have lessons on motorways from 2018, in a bid to improve road safety and bolster confidence of new drivers behind the wheel.
The Department for Transport said its decision would provide a broader range of real life experiences and better prepare learners for independent driving when they pass their test.
Learners will be accompanied by an approved driving instructor in a dual control car, just like in a regular driving lesson on local roads.
As it stands, learners cannot drive on a motorway until after they have passed their test, so the first experience of motorway driving for many is as a new driver without the guidance of a driving instructor or the safety of a dual control car.
Government figures show that younger drivers are up to seven times more likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with drivers over 25 and lack of experience is an important factor.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling commented: “Allowing learners to drive on motorways in a supportive environment will help them develop a practical understanding of how to use motorways safely before driving independently.”
The news has been welcomed by motoring groups. A spokesperson for the RAC said motorists it had surveyed were overwhelmingly supportive of the idea.
“While motorways are statistically our safest roads, it can be daunting using them for the first time after passing the driving test,” they added.
“Giving learners the option to gain valuable experience on our fastest and busiest roads should further improve safety and enhance the confidence of new drivers.”
Jasmine Halstead, head of learning and development for British School of Motoring, said this was great news because some drivers would avoid motorways or use them incorrectly if they hadn’t practised on them.
DVSA chief driving examiner Lesley Young hoped the decision would give novice drivers the skills and experience they need to help them and everyone else to stay safe on Britain’s motorways.
Molly Benton, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, added: “This has been a long time coming and makes total sense. Every motorist will need to use an M-road at some point and considering the size and pace of these carriageways, it’s a no-brainer that drivers should have the skills to safely handle them.”
Image: DVSA Crown copyright
Posted on 20th September 2017
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