Learner drivers set for extra motorway training

ON THE ROAD: Learner drivers will be able to drive on motorways from next year, the government has announced.
ON THE ROAD: Learner drivers will be able to drive on motorways from next year, the government has announced.

NEW motorists who have not passed their test will be allowed to drive on motorways, the Government has announced.

Under changes announced by road safety minister Mike Penning, unqualified drivers accompanied by an instructor will be allowed onto motorways for the first time.

At present, only qualified drivers can use the motorway.

The changes have been made to try and reduce the number of motorway accidents caused by inexperienced drivers.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has welcomed the plans.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “This change will mean that properly supervised young drivers can learn how to drive on a motorway with somebody beside them. Motorways are, after all, our safest roads.

“As part of the changes to the test, we would also like to see more training for learners on rural roads – our most dangerous roads.”

However, Adrian Scaife, owner of the Spen Valley Driving School, believes the changes do not go far enough to ensure novice drivers are prepared for the perils of motorway driving.

“If this plan works then it’s a good idea but it needs proper monitoring,” he said.

“You have to be at a certain level before you should be let onto the motorway.”

Mr Scaife said that the current motorway training for drivers who have passed their tests – via the Pass Plus programme – includes motorway driving within its six-hour intensive programme and is ‘ideal’ if it is carried out properly.

But he believes there should be a further element to the driving test, focusing on motorway driving.

“The Government should bring in a second part to the driving test to qualify people to drive on motorways.

“All new drivers would have to sit further tests to drive on motorways.

“It would not be a vote winner for them, but it would hugely improve road safety.

“I would be behind anything that is an additional part of the licence At the moment, additional driving is voluntary through Pass Plus.

“The only incentive for people is to lower their insurance premiums, rather than improve road safety.”

The measures announced by Mr Penning will come into force next year.