The DVSA have announced that driving instructors will be allowed to take learners on motorways from 4 June 2018.
In December 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) set out proposals to allow learner drivers to take lessons on motorways provided they are accompanied by an approved driving instructor and in a car that has dual controls.
The consultation closed in February 2017, gathering 2,928 responses where the majority (80%) supported the proposal.
The Statutory Instrument permitting this will be laid on 1 March 2018 and the regulations will come into force on 4 June 2018.
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA Chief Executive, said: “DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving. Our roads are among the safest in the world, but we’re determined to do more to make our roads safer.
“By allowing learners to have lessons on motorways we are modernising driver training and making sure learners get the skills and experience they need to drive on modern busy roads.”
Driving on a motorway requires a specific set of skills for driving at high speeds, longer distances and using multiple lanes properly. And because of high speeds involved collisions are likely to have severe outcome. As a result many new drivers are scared of driving on motorways and avoid using them.
The DfT received wide support from learner drivers, road safety and bodies like Driving Instructors Association (DIA) and the general public.
Carly Brookfield, Chief Executive of DIA, said: “Having lobbied for Learners to be allowed on motorways for decades, we are delighted to finally see this change. While motorways are statically our safest roads, it can be nerve wracking for a newly licenced driver to tackle them, as they have previously had no opportunity to develop their experience on these roads in the pre-test period, despite it being a driving environment they will frequently need to operate within once licenced.
“The weight of driver education research points to the fact that in novice drivers, increased exposure to driving in all driving contexts and environment increases essential experience and knowledge – and therefore decreases risk. Allowing Learners to build that vital experience on motorways in the pre-test period will help them better manage the task of driving on high speed roads once licensed.”
DIA, which as a key stakeholder in driver training was closely consulted by the government in the decision to deregulate motorways (and now working closely with government agencies to deliver learning resources to pupils and trainers to better prepare them for training in high speed road contexts) also welcomes the decision by the government to only allow Learners access under the strict supervision of a qualified driving instructor.
Only approved driving instructors with dual controlled cars will be allowed to give motorway lessons. They will only do this if they are confident the learner has the skills and knowledge to drive on the motorway safely.
Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: “We welcome the news that learner drivers will be allowed to take lessons on the motorway under the supervision of an approved driving instructor in a dual-controlled car, something that motorists we surveyed were overwhelmingly supportive of.
“While motorways are statistically our safest roads, it can be daunting using them for the first time after passing the driving test. Giving learners the option to gain valuable experience on our fastest and busiest roads should further improve safety and enhance the confidence of new drivers”
“Drivers should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a snow kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel.”