Rookie drivers are set to be allowed onto motorways in Britain for the first time. The new legislation is being proposed because of worries that new motorists are terrified to use major routes even after they pass their test, so they opt for minor roads instead, which can be more dangerous.
Under the new plans, learner drivers deemed to be competent will have some of their lessons on British motorways, but they will have to be with an approved driving instructor in a car with dual controls. Drivers who are being taught by friends or relatives in normal cars will still be banned from motorways.
Authorities think that by allowing learners onto motorways in a controlled way, it will help to improve road safety for everyone. Transport minister Andrew Jones said while Britain already had some of the safest roads anywhere in the world, the Government wanted to make them even safer for motorists.
The minister said that allowing learners onto motorways would give them the skills they needed once they had passed their test and were allowed to drive without supervision. The proposals have been welcomed by motorist groups, with RAC director Steve Gooding pointing out that statistics show motorways are the safest roads to drive on.
However, he said recently qualified drivers often felt intimidated by the fast flowing traffic, so would choose to use back roads, which are more dangerous, according to casuality figures. He added: “We welcome this move which will help new drivers get the training they need to use motorways safely.”
Consultations on the new plans will run until February, with the changes due to come into force during 2018. Other proposed reforms including the introduction of further real-life situations in driving tests, such as having to follow Sat Nav instructions, or heating their rear window.