Shake-up for learner drivers as motorway driving permitted

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Learner drivers will soon be allowed to have lessons on motorways as part of efforts to improve road safety, transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced

The change in procedure will come into effect in early 2018, and learner drivers will be permitted to drive along motorways when accompanied by an approved driving instructor in a dual control car.

The law change aims to provide learners with a broader range of real life experiences and will aid in the preparation of independent driving upon passing their test.

Mr Grayling said: "The UK has some of safest roads in the world, and we want to make them even safer. Younger drivers are up to seven times more likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with drivers over twenty-five, and lack of experience is an important factor.

"Allowing learners to drive on motorways in a supportive environment will help them develop a practical understanding of how to use motorways safely before driving independently."

At present, learner drivers cannot drive on motorways until they have passed their test. They can then choose to take the optional Pass Plus course, which focuses around additional skills including motorway driving. However, with some drivers choosing not to take this course, many first experience motorway driving without any guidance from a driving instructor or the safety of a dual control car.

These changes were brought about by the Department for Transport, who consulted on the changes earlier this year. In conjunction with the new driver survey, they received wide support from both learner drivers and instructors.

Jasmine Halstead, head of learning and development for British School of Motoring, said: "If learners aren’t allowed to practise on motorways under supervision, then some will avoid motorways, and others will use motorways incorrectly when they have passed their test. Hence, it is great news for road safety that learners will be able to drive on motorways under supervision."

This comes as changes to the UK driving test are due to come into force on 4December 2017 after extensive trials and a public consultation. The changes aim to reduce fatal collisions as well as improve road safety alongside new technologies.

To prepare yourself for the changes to come, read our guide to driving on the motorway as a new driver.

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