Since the initial idea was first proposed early this year, it has now been confirmed that learner drivers will officially be allowed to practise on the motorway as of 2018 in England, Scotland and Wales.
The training will teach learner drivers how to join and exit slip roads, change lanes correctly, safely over take other vehicles, and experience driving at higher speeds.
Currently the only experience that is available for people who have never driven on the motorway before is the Pass Plus test – a voluntary qualification which drivers can opt to complete once they have passed. Now the government have confirmed that learner drivers (excluding people learning to drive motorcycles or other vehicles) will be able to get this experience during lessons with their instructors, providing the learner is:
- Accompanied by an approved driving instructor (trainee instructors will not be able to take learner drivers on the motorway)
- The vehicles used have dual controls
The instructor will use their own discretion as to whether or not they feel the driver has enough confidence and experience to tackle the motorway. Parents or friends will not be able to take the drivers out on the motorway themselves.
What this means for driving instructors
Official training will not be given to ADI’s, but there will be training materials provided by the DVSA directly and the overall driving syllabus and highway code will be updated with further information and guidance.
Instructors will have the option to remove or keep their top box on display whilst motorway lessons are underway, but if they do choose to remove the top box they will still have to display L Plates on the front and back of the vehicle.
Even new drivers are apprehensive of motorways
Only very recently did one of our ambassadors Jim Knight (AKA Jimmericks), take to the motorway for the first time and finally conquered his anxieties. In spite of the fact he has been a qualified driver for over 2 years, he claims he was still too nervous about the idea of driving on the motorway because of the lack of experience and knowledge. We sent him off with one of the instructors from Around the Bend driving school to go and get a taste of what it’s like!
Although they only ventured out for a few hours, Jim came back from that lesson feeling much more confident and better equipped for motorway driving and now uses it regularly to get to his destinations.
What do you think of the proposal?
In a survey Marmalade carried out in March this year, 63% of all the people who took part (over 1,000 young drivers) said they were all for the new changes and would like to be better prepared for motorway driving. Until the new laws come into place in 2018, it will remain illegal for any learner drivers to go onto the motorway.
Do you feel the changes will be beneficial? We would love to hear your comments!