The UK government has announced that learner drivers will be allowed on motorways from 4 June, 2018 – a move road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has welcomed as ‘common sense’ and could save countless lives.
An announcement from the DVSA on 1 March said learner drivers will be able to take driving lessons on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales from Monday, 4 June. Learners will need to be accompanied by an Approved Driving Instructor and drive a car fitted with dual controls. Motorways lessons will be voluntary and it will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is sufficiently competent to drive on them. Learner motorcyclists, however, will not be allowed to use the motorway. IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, has long called for the move to be made.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart’s Director of Policy and Research said, “IAM RoadSmart strongly welcomes this common-sense change to the law on motorway driving.
It has never made sense to us that new drivers on our most important roads learned how to use them by trial and potentially fatal error. The government’s insistence on the use of approved instructors and dual controlled cars is a welcome safeguard that will ensure consistent levels of training and a proper, phased introduction to motorway driving skills. Delays and injuries caused by driver error blight our motorways and with new systems such as smart motorways being widely introduced, it is vital that the level of knowledge and skill among motorways users is improved to keep our key economic routes flowing.”
The Road Haulage Association, however, disagrees. In a response to the announcement the organisation said: “Drivers should only drive on motorways once they’ve passed their test. Newly qualified drivers should consider taking the Pass Plus training course which offers practical experience behind the wheel in different driving conditions, including dual carriageways and motorways.”