Learner drivers in England, Scotland and Wales will be allowed to take driving lessons on motorways, alongside an approved driving instructor in a dual control car, from today (Monday, June 4).
The move is part of the Government’s efforts to better prepare learner drivers for driving safely on the roads after passing their test.
The AA Charitable Trust welcomed the change saying it was a great opportunity to teach motorway safety and potentially avoid a future generation of middle-lane hoggers.
Research from the AA shows that nearly one in ten (8%) drivers avoid motorways for at least six months after passing their test.
Just a quarter (25%) said they felt adequately prepared for motorway driving after their test. But more than a quarter (27%) said they felt scared when they did venture onto a motorway for the first time with women (46%) more than twice as likely as men (18%) to say this.
Half of drivers said they would have liked the chance to take a lesson on the motorway before their test (54%) and a third (33%) said they think this would have made them a safer driver.
Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “It’s clear from our research that motorway driving has been a significant hurdle for many drivers to overcome after their test and that being allowed on these roads whilst learning is welcomed by the majority of drivers.”
However, the road safety charity Brake is urging the Government go further to address the tragedy of young driver death on our roads and is calling for the introduction of a comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system across the UK.
Brake suggests such a system should include a 12-month learner period, an initial test, and then a two-year novice period when drivers can drive independently but with restrictions – such as a late-night driving curfew.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “While 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.
“Young people are disproportionality at risk on our roads – 7% of the driving population but involved in a fifth of all road deaths – and this is ultimately down to inexperience.
“Training on motorways is important, but with just 4% of crashes taking place on these roads, today’s changes fall well short.”