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Plans for instructors to take ‘competent’ trainees on UK’s fastest roads in dual-controlled cars backed by road safety groups

HA0523 - Motorbike on the network. This set of images illustrates bikers driving on motorways and A roads in a safe manner.

Learner drivers will be allowed to practise on motorways for the first time under government plans to improve road safety.

Under current rules, drivers are permitted on motorways only after they have passed their test, though there is no mandatory training for the 70mph roads.

The transport minister, Andrew Jones, announced the plans on Friday, which would allow approved instructors to take “competent” trainees on motorways in dual-controlled cars.

The RAC director, Steve Gooding, and Neil Greig, policy director at the IAM RoadSmart charity, backed the proposal.

Gooding said: “The casualty statistics tell us that motorways are our safest roads, but they can feel anything but safe to a newly qualified driver heading down the slip road for the first time to join a fast-moving, often heavy, flow of traffic.

“Many are so intimidated by the motorway environment that they choose instead to use statistically more dangerous roads, so we welcome this move, which will help new drivers get the training they need to use motorways safely.”

Greig said it was a “sensible and measured solution”, adding: “It makes no sense that new drivers learn by trial and, often fatal, error how to use our fastest and most important roads.”

Under the proposals, motorcyclists would take a theory test as part of the compulsory basic training (CBT) course, which allows bikes and mopeds to be ridden unaccompanied. CBT certificates would be revoked if the motorist gets six penalty points.

Jones said: “These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skillset which will improve safety levels on our roads.”

Reports had said the government was considering making learner drivers complete 120 hours of training before taking their tests, but the Department for Transport said there were no current plans for such a measure.

A spokeswoman said: “We have commissioned a £2m research programme that will look at ways we can reduce the number of accidents involving new and inexperienced drivers, and this will look at a range of measures.”

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It’s often imagined that young drivers have too much confidence and rush to complete their driver training in their eagerness to get on the roads.

However, a recent survey, taken from a sample of 2,000 drivers between the ages of 18 and 30, paints a different picture, with 62% of young drivers in favour of a minimum learning period.

Statistics show that many young drivers feel unequipped to drive safely and competently after passing their test, and many will go out of their way to avoid driving situations where they lack confidence.

Young Driver Survey Data

The report gives a unique insight into the opinions of Britain’s young drivers and shows that many of them feel totally unprepared for driving after passing their test. Yet young drivers themselves are rarely consulted about their driving experiences.

Although the driving test has been improved to better reflect real-life conditions on the roads, almost half of newly qualified drivers (48%) felt unprepared for motorway driving and around one in three (29%) were nervous about night-time driving and driving alone after passing their test.

Situations that young drivers admitting avoiding included motorway driving, driving in city centres and turning right at busy junctions.

In the survey, published in August 2013, one in four drivers who had had an accident believed that it might have been avoided if they had spent longer learning to drive. Despite this, amongst the young people consulted in the survey, one in five took less than three months to pass their driving test and 50% took less than six months to pass.

Written by: Janet Fisher

Dagenham

 

www.thedrivingskool.com