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Learner drivers given access to motorwaysBack

It has recently been announced that learner drivers are going to be allowed to have lessons on motorways in attempt to prevent accidents among novice drivers.

The change will happen in 2012 and it is hoped that access to the motorway will better prepare youngsters to be confronted by traffic driving at speeds of 70 miles per hour or more.

At present, new drivers are given immediate access to the motorway as soon as they have passed their test and many are not prepared for the speed at which other motorists drive which can lead to fatal accidents.

The plans were announced by Transport Minister, Mr Penning who cited that it will be possible for learner drivers to undergo a certain amount of training on the motorway, providing they are accompanied by a fully qualified instructor.

Mr Penning addressed the Institute of Advanced Motorist by using his own daughter as a reference, saying that within minutes of passing her test, she would have access to motorways which was of concern to him.

The change will not be compulsory as some learner drivers are taught by friends or family to cut costs, and some live in remote areas whereby a motorway is hard to get to within the time limits of a one or two hour driving lesson.

The move has been instigated by statistics which reveal the amount of young drivers being killed and seriously injured on the UK’s motorways.

Figures released by the Department for Transport have revealed that 82 drivers under 21 years of age were involved in fatal motorway crashes between 2006 and 2010. In addition, there is growing concern that the current testing policies in place do not fully prepare drivers for life behind the wheel.

“Are we teaching young drivers to pass a test or are we giving them the skills to enjoy life on the road,” Mr Penning said.

Many motoring bodies have welcomed the decision taken by Mr Penning. Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety said: “It is a good thing in principle, but the devil is in the detail. Going on a motorway is one of the things newly qualified drivers say frightens them.

“Tightening the rules on driving instructors is very sensible and will improve consumer confidence in the driving instructor regime.”

The changes were also supported by Andrew Howard, the AA’s head of road safety. “This is good news. It will end the ludicrous situation where people can live near a network of motorways and pass their test without ever having been on one, ” he said.


Posted by Leana Kell on 12/12/2011