In a move that will most likely be welcomed by the majority of driving schools in the UK (but about which those who sell driving school insurance might or might not be equally impressed) it will soon be legal for learners to drive on motorways during their lessons. Authorities believe this will enhance road safety.
Presently, learners are not allowed to get behind the wheel on motorways, at least not until they have passed their tests.
All of this will change on 4th June. From that day it will be legal for learners to drive on motorways during driving lessons, provided an approved instructor sits next to them in a vehicle with dual controls.
The man who introduced the new law is Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary. He said: “The UK has some of the safest roads in the world and we want to make them even safer.”
Grayling added that the probability of a younger driver being seriously injured or killed was as much as seven times higher than that of drivers older than 25. He attributed this to insufficient experience.
He went on to say that making it legal for learners to drive on motorways in an environment where they had proper support would help them to gain practical experience of driving on a motorway before they ventured out on their own.
The UK government is confident that its decision will help to bring about a reduction in road deaths by providing learners with experience of driving on motorways at an early age.
The chief driving examiner at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Lesley Young, said the agency’s main priority was to help drivers achieve an accident-free driving career, and that they were resolute to help improve road safety for all users.
Young continued: “We want to modernise driver training so that novice drivers gain the skills and experience they need to help them and everyone else to stay safe on our motorways.”
A spokesperson for RAC road safety, Pete Williams also welcomed the news and said that motorists they polled were overwhelming in favour of such a move.
Williams added that although motorways were statistically the safest roads in the UK, it could be a bewildering experience for young drivers who have just passed the test to use one of them for the very first time. He feels that offering learners the option to actually get real-life experience on the country’s busiest and fastest roads could not only strengthen the confidence of new drivers, but also enhance road safety.
Earlier in 2018, the Department of Transport consulted on the planned legislation changes and received wide support from both driving instructors and learner drivers.
The chief of development and learning at British School of Motoring, Jasmine Halstead, reiterated that per mile travelled motorways were safer than any other roads in the UK. She added that if learners could not practise their driving (under the guidance of a supervisor) on motorways, some would use these roads incorrectly once they are on their own, while others might avoid them completely.
The new law only applies to England, Scotland and Wales.