UK motorists overwhelmingly support Government proposals to allow learners to drive on the motorway before passing their driving test.
A recent study conducted by the RAC has revealed that a large number of learner drivers do not feel prepared for motorway driving after completing the current practical and theory tests.
Only 14 per cent of 2,000 motorists surveyed by the motoring organisation considered themselves ready for the UK’s fastest roads, highlighting a potentially huge deficit in driver education.
The survey was undertaken as the country awaits the results of a joint consultation between the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the Department for Transport into leaner driver motorway use.
In the RAC study, an astonishing 79% of drivers said that – if accompanied by an approved instructor in a dual-controlled car – the driving standards of learners would be improved given the option of real-life experience on our fastest roads.
Under the proposal learners will be allowed onto motorways only when in a dual-controlled car and accompanied by a qualified driving instructor. Recognising that some motorists live large distances from motorways and may rarely use them, the motorway element will be optional.
When he announced the consultation in December 2016, Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones stated the intention was to improve road safety.
He said: “The proposal will enable novice drivers to experience the broadest possible range of driving experiences in a supportive environment, helping them to be better, safer, independent drivers.
“More and varied practice helps drivers to be safer on the roads and encouraging more people to learn how to use motorways properly will benefit all drivers.”
Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: “Many learner drivers do not live in an area which has access to the motorway network. In addition, those drivers that live regions furthest away from a motorway are less likely to drive on one on a regular basis.
“Such high speeds can make a driver who has recently passed test feel nervous and more vulnerable the first time they venture on to these types of roads.”
Statistics show that motorways are the safest roads in the UK, but in spite of this, and the fact that all approved driving instructors use dual-control vehicles, a small number of respondents worry it could worsen driving standards.
Yet, with nearly half of the survey respondents stating they did not feel ‘sufficiently prepared’ for motorway driving when passing their practical and theory tests, the RAC claims it’s an “apt time” to consider new policy.