Learners could be offered a motorway lesson as part of driver training
Jimi Beckwith
21 December 2015

Under a scheme to improve road safety in the UK, the Department for Transport is considering allowing learner drivers to experience motorway driving ahead of taking their test.

Learners are currently forbidden from motorways altogether. The only motorway driver training course, Pass Plus, is not permitted until after drivers have passed their test.

The Department for Transport is to be abolished, read more here

The proposed change in the law would allow learners onto the motorway before passing their test, but only in a dual-controlled car with an approved instructor alongside them. The proposed scheme aims to make newly-qualified drivers safer when venturing out onto the motorway alone.

However, there are no plans to make motorway driving part of the mandatory test route at present. Motorway training would only be voluntary, offering an added opportunity to learner drivers to gain experience, rather than being a necessity of gaining a driving licence.

The RAC welcomes the news, but argues that the proposal doesn't go far enough. It believes motorway driving should be compulsory in lessons and during the driving test. A 2014 survey conducted by the group revealed that 86% of learners wanted motorway training as a compulsory part of their driving lessons. The same survey found that lessons on driving in the dark and in adverse weather were similarly popular.

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Comments
7

21 December 2015
Why can't they just incorporate pass plus into the regular license, or make a two stage license where you need to get pass plus to fully qualify? First stage license holders have to stay off motorways and stay off the road when dark for example until they have learned how to cope with these scenarios.

21 December 2015
This is another half-baked scheme from this government. They should be looking at completely overhauling the way people learn to drive, not just tinkering around the edges. What's needed is some sort of graduated driving licence: You pass your initial test then have to display 'P' plates for say 6 or 12 months. During that time, you can only carry one passenger (not taking into account that a full car handles very differently to a near empty one is one of the main reasons so many car loads of teenagers are in serious crashes), you can only drive vehicles up to a certain power output (as with motorcycles), and you can't go on motorways. During the restricted period you can have professional motorway tuition, and once you've passed an additional test/assessment you get the full licence. Of course there will be additional costs with all this, but something has to be done to drag up the low standards of driving we all witness every day.

289

22 December 2015
....you have just published my view on the matter exactly.

Totally with you on this one Catnip, and I don't know why the authorities cant see that this is the only logical route forward addressing the appalling driving standards today.
Arguments along the lines of 'I don't have a motorway near me' just don't wash. Unless you intend to be so insular as to never venture outside your local area, Motorway instruction AND test pass are mandatory.
This is like saying an airliner pilot cant drive through clouds...ridiculous.
This mad licence entitlement scenario is just wrong....some people should never have a licence if their aptitude is lacking.

21 December 2015

Motorway testing can never be mandatory with the current distribution of motorways. My nearest driving test centre is in Suffolk, which is hardly remote. I think the nearest section of motorway is ninety miles away from the centre, a good two hour drive one way.

22 December 2015
In an article "Young drivers fear motorways most"

Autocar in April 2013 wrote:

....The survey results come as Autocar and the AA call for motorway driving to be included in the driving test. Currently, learner drivers are not allowed on motorways and are not tested on the practical skills needed for motorway driving.

"Drivers aged between 17 and 24 are involved in more than a quarter of motorway accidents involving death or injury, so it’s time the driving test played its part in tackling this issue,” said Autocar news editor Dan Stevens.

So disappointing the glacial rate at which this issue is being fixed. And the costs of the accident investigations, clear-up, and medical care are borne by the tax payer.

Distance to test centre and/or motorway should not come into it. Safety first. Personal convenience second.

22 December 2015

It has to be asked, of course, what will be done to remedy the three quarters of motorway accidents, involving drivers above age 24....

Sounds like there is scope for re-tests, including motorway driving as mandatory.

22 December 2015
Most if not all states in the U.S. require highway driving as part of the drivers' ed curriculum though many of those states do not test for it when getting your license. Night driving and driving in hazards should also be covered though the latter would be hard to schedule and requiring simulators at all locations would be cost-prohibitive. Perhaps if there were centers that were simulator-equipped that could be booked that would be helpful even if less-than ideal.

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