Learner drivers will be allowed to take lessons on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales from June 2018.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) this week confirmed that the law would be changed following a consultation on the matter last year. Announcing the decision on Thursday, the DVSA said that it would help improve learners’ knowledge and ensure more drivers know how to use motorways safely.
At the moment, drivers can only have motorway lessons after they have passed their driving test. The changes to the law will come into effect on June 4, until then it will remain illegal for learners to drive on motorways.
It will be up to instructors to decide if students are competent enough for lessons on motorways. Learners will only be allowed onto motorways if they are accompanied by an approved driving instructor and driving a car fitted with dual controls. The change in the law also only applies to car drivers, learner motorcyclists still won’t be allowed on motorways.
Announcing the move, the DVSA said: “The changes are being made to allow learner drivers to get broader driving experience before taking their driving test; get training on how to join and leave the motorway, overtake and use lanes correctly; practise driving at higher speeds and understand motorway specific traffic signs.”
Motorway lessons are also expected to educate drivers on what to do if a vehicle breaks down on a motorway.
Motorway lessons will be entirely voluntary and won’t form part of the driving test. It will be up to instructors to decide if students are competent enough for them.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart 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 motorway 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.
“Any current drivers who feel the need to refresh their skills or improve their confidence and enjoyment on the motorway can take an IAM RoadSmart motorway module today.”