Currently reading: Department for Transport considers letting learners on motorways
Learners could be offered a motorway lesson as part of driver training

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.

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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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Moparman 22 December 2015

Should be mandatory

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.
Adrian987 22 December 2015

Glacial progress...

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.

Adrian987 22 December 2015

And the other three quarters...

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.

EndlessWaves 21 December 2015

Someone needs a map of the country.

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.