For the government has unveiled plans to let learner drivers have motorway lessons. That’s right: those learning to drive will be allowed to have driving lessons on motorways for the first time, as long as they're with a driving instructor in a car fitted with dual controls.
Transport minister Andrew Jones announced the plans today. The motorway lessons will be voluntary and mark a change from the current setup where you can only drive on motorways once you've passed your test.
It would be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner is competent enough to have a motorway lesson.
Any change to the law will be “well-publicised” before coming into effect though. So don’t whack out the L plates for a trip on the M25 just yet: it’s still illegal for a learner driver to take to the motorways.
The proposal is part of a plan to improve driver and motorcyclist training, with a view to improving safety on the roads.
Jones said: “These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skill set which will improve safety levels on our roads.”
RAC director Steve Gooding, said: “The casualty statistics tell us that motorways are our safest roads, but they can feel anything but safe to a newly qualified driver heading down the slip road for the first time to join a fast moving, often heavy, flow of traffic."
He added that the move "will help new drivers get the training they need to use motorways safely".
The developments will also involve updating the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course allowing motorcyclists to ride unaccompanied on roads. It will see motorcycle training move more in line with that of learner drivers and include:
- Novice riders to do a theory test as part of their CBT course
- Revoking CBT certificates if a provisional licence holder gets six penalty points
- Restricting learner riders to use automatic motorcycles if they take their CBT on one
For now, the department for transport (DfT) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are conducting consultations to get views on the measures.
They’ll run until 17 February 2017, with the changes potentially coming into force in 2018.