Autocar Start will provide new drivers with a new car, comprehensive insurance and professional training for a fixed fee

Autocar will launch a new safer driving initiative for learner drivers on 26 June.

Called Autocar Start, the scheme has been established to help new drivers get behind the wheel of a modern, fully insured car with expert tuition both before and after their driving test.

The scheme is described by its creators as a “revolutionary three-year programme designed to give new drivers the safest possible start to their journey on the UK’s roads.”

Full details will be revealed at the scheme’s launch, but it has been created in the wake of growing concerns about the standards of new drivers, and the costs of learning to drive in a safe and secure environment. The government will launch a green paper detailing plans to overhaul young driver rules in a bid to improve safety and cut insurance costs later this year.

Government proposals include introducing a minimum learning period before candidates are permitted to sit their test. This will enable learner drivers to take lessons on motorways and amid adverse weather conditions or during darkness. The existing probationary period may also be extended from two to three years for a new driver’s licence to be revoked if they receive six or more penalty points, and there is talk of making the driving test more rigorous to better prepare learners to drive unsupervised.

The government is also considering the possibility of imposing temporary restrictions on newly qualified drivers, and introducing a system of rewards for new drivers who embrace additional training and keep clean licences.

Autocar Start is backed by Smart Cars, Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy and Carrot insurance.

Further details of the launch event, which will take place at Mercedes-Benz World in Brooklands near Weybridge at 10am on 26 June, are available from 

Our Verdict

Smart Fortwo 2007-2014

The Smart Fortwo is a unique proposition. Its emotional appeal is unquestionable and it is one of the most novel and innovative cars available.

Join the debate


17 June 2013

Better driver training must be a good thing, but any scheme that involves new cars is going to be very expensive, and therefore exclude almost all first time drivers.

As for using Smarts, surely the fact that Smarts are all automatic rules them out as an appropriate car for learners.  

17 June 2013

Judging by the standard of some drivers today - some of them need to go on the initiative.

18 June 2013

I wonder how watered down any implementation of the new proposals will be?  I'll read the green paper with interest.  The current driving test and exam really needs an overhaul.  Fine for the 1960's.  Inadequate for 2013.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK