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Learner drivers to be allowed on UK motorways

Transport Minister Andrew Jones has announced new plans allowing learner drivers on motorways before passing their driving test.

At the moment, you can only have driving lessons on motorways after you’ve passed your test but the new rules will enable learners to take them with an approved instructor in a car fitted with dual controls.

The new plans also include novice riders being required to complete a theory test as part of their Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) and provisional motorcyclists being banned after receiving six penalty points. In addition the CBT course, which allows motorcyclists to ride unaccompanied on Great Britain’s roads, will also be updated.

Any motorway driving lessons would be voluntary and it would be up to the instructor to decide when the learner has reached sufficient competence.

The proposed changes are designed to help contribute towards the government’s commitment to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads, by ensuring more drivers know how to use motorways safely.

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said, “We have some of the safest roads in the world and we want to make them even safer. These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skill set which will improve safety levels on our roads.”

The moves have been welcomed by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, which has long campaigned for these changes.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research, said: “It makes no sense that new drivers learn by trial and, often fatal, error how to use our fastest and most important roads.  Allowing learners on motorways with an approved instructor is a sensible and measured solution that should deliver drivers who are much better able to cope with complex new smart motorways.”

On the changes to motorcycle training, he said: “These proposals close two obvious loopholes that IAM RoadSmart has been highlighting with motorcycle industry training partners.  A theory test should always be the first step for any motorised road user before they reach the road.  The six penalty point approach also finally brings motorcycle users in line with the New Driver’s Act for car drivers.”

The Department for Transport and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have jointly launched consultations seeking views from the public, which will run until 17 February 2017. The changes could come into effect by 2018.