High-speed learner drivers to be allowed on motorways

Learner drivers are to be allowed on motorways in an attempt to improve road safety it was announced last night

Learner drivers are to be allowed on motorways in an attempt to improve road safety it was announced last night

This means that the first experience of motorway driving for many is as a new driver without the guidance of an instructor or the safety of a dual-control auto. The move follows years of pressure from road safety groups over what they argued was a long-running safety omission.

Post-test motorway courses are available to teach the specific skills needed for driving on them, but government research found that only a very small percentage of new drivers were taking these.

From next year, instructors can take inexperienced drivers onto motorways for lessons in a dual-control vehicle.

The changes will apply to England, Wales and Scotland.

The change will allow people who had not yet passed their test to drive on Britain's motorways with an approved instructor.

Transport officials point out that young drivers are up to seven times more likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with drivers over 25, saying that lack of experience is an important factor.

Spokesman Jason Wakeford said: 'Rather than allowing learner drivers on the motorway, there should instead be a requirement for all newly qualified drivers to receive mandatory lessons, including on the motorway, once they have passed their test'.

Driving instructors often offer motorways lessons for new drivers, but the Department for Transport (DfT) said uptake also seemed very low.

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said some drivers find it "daunting" to use motorways for the first time.

"Giving learners the option to gain valuable experience on our fastest and busiest roads should further improve safety and enhance theconfidence of new drivers", he said.

"Hence it is great news for road safety that learners will be able to drive on motorways under supervision".

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