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Motorway lessons for learner drivers

Motorway lessons for learner drivers could be introduced. Too little, too late or right on time?

Book Theory Test Today says: “Talk of motorway lessons for learner drivers is nothing new, but why now? It’s beyond belief that this could actually happen now when it probably should have happened years ago. Imagine the number of fatal accidents it could have prevented.”

The government says that motorway lessons for learner drivers could be introduced across England and Wales in a bid to improve road safety. Lessons would be in a dual-controlled car with an approved driving instructor. Currently, most drivers’ first taste of the motorway only comes after passing the DVSA practical test.

The introduction of motorway lessons for learner drivers could lead to an overhaul of the DVSA driving theory test, with the inclusion of more questions concerning motorway driving likely to be added.

Further proposals | beyond motorway lessons for learner drivers

In addition to motorway lessons for learner drivers, government proposals will look to tackle problem areas of driving, particularly dangerous drivers, by providing police forces with more funding for enforcement. The proposals will be put out to consultation in 2016.

A £2m research project will also get underway to identify solutions on how to improve motoring education for learners and novice motorists. A strategic document published by the Department for Transport (DfT) – some of which applies to the whole of Britain and some to certain nations only – lists a whole range of proposals, including:

  • Increasing penalty points for drivers who use a handheld phone at the wheel from three to four, with fines rising from £100 to £150
  • Changes to laws to improve cycling safety and additional funding for cycle training in schools
  • Strengthening compulsory basic training for learner motorcyclists and encouraging greater post-test rider training

Currently, less than half of learner drivers achieve a practical test pass first time, which the government is adamant about improving. An excerpt from the DfT document reads:

“We will encourage a higher percentage of learner drivers to aim to pass a driving test the first time around when they are truly ready for independent driving.”

“In doing so, we will consider whether more should be done to support and reward a broader range of driving experiences, such as night driving and motorways, ahead of candidates obtaining their driving licence and whether restructuring the costs of the driving test would incentivise learners to undertake more pre-test practice,” the document continued.

Ditch the parents

Director of the RAC foundation, Steve Gooding said: “We would welcome the introduction of motorway lessons for learner drivers. We are delivering common-sense proposals that balance tougher penalties for dangerous drivers with practical steps to help youngsters and other more vulnerable groups stay safe on our roads.”

Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said: “Mile-for-mile, motorways are our safest roads but can be intimidating places for novice drivers. The important thing is the official seal of approval provided by the approved driving instructor who will accompany them down the slip-road. This is definitely not the time to have mum or dad in the passenger seat.”

Director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Neil Greig, said: “Logistically, motorway driving can never be compulsory but for the many who live close to them, this offers a step change in their confidence and safety in our most important economic routes.”

Book Theory Test Today says: “Of course motorway lessons for learner drivers are a great idea. However, it could be argued that they’ve arrived 10 years too late. While they will go some way towards improving the future of motoring, you can’t help but wonder how much safer Britain’s roads would be now had this been implemented a decade ago.”

What’s your view on motorway lessons for learner drivers? Drop us a comment.

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