New drivers to be allowed on motorways

  • You're about to see L-plates on the motorway
  • Government to include new techniques in driving test
  • Vote in our poll: will this improve your life on the road?

Could your motorway life be about to improve? That’s a likely upshot of new government measures aiming to increase driver education on our nation’s highways.

After a yet-to-be-announced date in 2018, learner drivers will be able to travel on, and learn to use, motorways before they pass their test, provided they’re in a dual-controlled car accompanied by an approved driving instructor.

The measures aim to replace the existing optional Pass Plus supplementary driving test, which teaches more advanced skills such as night time driving as well as techniques on faster highways.

It’s reported that just 3% of new drivers took this insurance premium-lowering course in 2015/16, which clearly leaves significant room for the improvement of education for the vast majority of recently qualified drivers.

The latest planned changes come in the wake of revisions to the UK driving test from 4 December 2017. The three-point turn and reversing around a corner manoeuvre have been ditched, while a greater emphasis has been put on independent driving – including a section where candidates take directions from a sat-nav. 

Click here to learn more about the changes in place from 4 December 2017

How can I spot a new driver on the motorway?

Simple – they’ll be displaying L-plates front and rear, just like learner-drivers on any other type of public road.

It’ll be up to the driving instructor to decide when their student is ready and able to start these lessons, and while extra training won’t be forthcoming through the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), additional learning materials have already been published and the car driving syllabus will be amended to take the new skills into account.

Road Safety Minister, Andrew Jones, promises these measures will make motorway life better for all. ‘More and varied practice helps drivers to be safer on the roads and encouraging more people to learn how to use motorways properly will benefit all drivers.

‘Motorways are the arteries of the British economy and we need to keep them moving.’

The move has been widely welcomed by road safety charities. Neil Grieg, director of policy and research for the Institue of Advanced Motorists (IAM Roadsmart), said: 'It makes no sense that new drivers learn by trial and, sometimes fatal, error how to use our fastest and most important roads.

'Allowing learners on motorways with an approved instructor is a sensible and measured solution that should deliver confident new drivers who are much better able to cope with complex smart motorways.'

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