A Change in Law Allows for Learner Drivers on Motorways

Legally reviewed by: Kevin Waddingham In: Motoring Offences

Learner drivers will now be allowed to have driving lessons on the motorway in England, Wales and Scotland.

Previously, only those who had passed their test could drive on motorways however the change in law allows learners to drive on motorways as long as in dual control cars with an approved driving instructor.

The government hopes that the move will enable learners to gain experience in driving safely.

The AA and RAC Foundation along with other motoring groups have welcomed the law change.

Jesse Norman, Road Safety Minister noted that “Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world, but road collisions remain the second biggest killer of young people.

“Allowing learner drivers to have motorway lessons with a qualified road safety expert will help more young drivers to gain the skills and experience they need to drive safely on motorways.”

An AA poll of more than 20,000 motorists has suggested that approximately 8% of licence holders avoid motorways for at least the first six months of passing their test and more than a quarter stated they felt scared driving on the motorway for the first time.

Director of the AA Charitable Trust, Edmund King stated that young drivers are drastically over – represented in crashes and that the positive change to the law will help to broaden the opportunities learners will have.

King further noted that “it is somewhat perverse that five minutes after passing the driving test a new driver could venture alone on to a motorway without having had any motorway tuition.”

In 2016, a fifth of all fatalities on Britain’s roads involved crashes with a driver aged 17 – 24 despite those drivers making up just 7% of all licence holders. From the beginning of 2016 up until September of that year, there were 1,810 deaths on UK roads.

Brake, the Road Safety Charity had urged the government to introduce a graduated driver licencing system which would include restrictions for a certain time after passing the test including a late night driving curfew.

Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns said that “Whilst today’s move is a small step in the right direction, a total overhaul in the way in which we learn to drive is urgently needed.”

Andy Cash, Head of Motoring Law comments:

“This change is very welcome and sits alongside several changes in the test for new drivers including parking and driving to sat nav instruction. Statistics show that motorways are the safest place to drive and giving new drivers the confidence to “join the flow” can only assist. I hope that other drivers will see the sense of this change and look out for the learners. “

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