Road safety minister Mike Penning announced at the IAM annual lunch yesterday that learner drivers are to be allowed to have driving lessons on motorways. This change will come into force from next year.
This is a considerable victory for the MSA and other ADI groups who have been pressing for this for many years. MSA General Manager John Lepine said “We have been pursuing this policy for many years, in evidence that the MSA gave to the Transport Select Committee a couple of years ago we said
“Learner drivers should be allowed on motorways with driving instructors in dual-controlled cars, we think it is very important, not just because they need to go on motorways but because in a lot of areas there are road systems whereby there are no fast dual carriageways, the only fast dual carriageways are motorways and if we keep preventing learner drivers from going on motorways we are preventing them from driving at high speed.
“A motorway is just another road and the difference between that and a major dual carriageway is not that great. We encourage people to drive on major dual carriageways and we test them on major dual carriageways, but in some parts of the country there are none, there are motorways and we ought to be allowing them to drive on there with a driving instructor in a dual-controlled car.”
John went on to say “We also welcome the Ministers other decisions detailed in the article below and look forward to working with the DSA to help implement them.”
In an article published in the Telegraph their Transport Editor David Millward, writes:
The change, which will come into force next year, is intended to end the situation in which young drivers can be confronted with traffic driving at speeds of 70 mph or above without any preparation. Under the plans announced by Mr Penning, it will be possible for learner drivers to undergo some training on a motorway but only if accompanied by a qualified driving instructor. The change, however, will not be made compulsory because of the difficulties learner drivers in remote areas of the country would face in finding a motorway within a reasonable distance of where they lived. Underpinning the move is concern at the number of young drivers being killed and seriously injured on the country’s motorways. According to figures compiled by the Department for Transport 82 drivers under 21 were involved in fatal motorway crashes between 2006 and 2010.
“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. Since taking office Mr Penning has stopped driving test centres publicising the routes which will be used during the examination.
He has also banned the publishing of answers to the theory test to prevent candidates learning by rote. In afurther change Mr Penning plans to ban trainee driving instructors giving lessons unless they themselves are supervised by a fully qualified colleague.
Currently trainee instructors can give tuition and the only indication a pupil has that their teacher is not fully qualified is a small screen sticker.
“I am going to put a stop to that,” Mr Penning told The Daily Telegraph. “I am going to stop people who are not qualified doing this. Some of these guys never get qualified.”