From 2018, learner drivers will be allowed on UK motorways for the very first time.
The exact date of the change will be revealed nearer the time, and the Highway Code rules on motorways will be updated accordingly.
It will remain illegal for learner drivers to drive on motorways until the law changes. So while the change won’t happen overnight, the L-plate will be a common sight on UK motorways before you know it.
New Rules for Learner Drivers on Motorways
This change will apply to England, Scotland and Wales, and the government’s already outlined the new rules for learner drivers on motorways.
Learner drivers will need to be accompanied by an approved driving instructor. Trainee instructors are not allowed, and learners will only be allowed on the motorway when driving a car fitted with dual controls. The change only applies to cars, not motorcycles.
Motorway lessons are completely voluntary. They won’t feature as part of the driving test, and it will be absolutely up to the driving instructor to decide whether the learner is ready for a motorway lesson. It’s also up to the instructor to decide whether or not to keep their driving school roof-top box on during motorway lessons, though front and rear L-plates are mandatory.
Why Are Learner Drivers Being Allowed on Motorways?
Road safety charities have been campaigning for this change for years. Though post-test motorway courses are available for new drivers, it’s been found that very few new drivers were taking them. As such, very few new drivers are familiar with motorway driving once they’re qualified. This means that the first time most drivers take to the motorway, they’re doing so alone and comparatively inexperienced.
In a statement released by Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones, he revealed that last year 1,732 people died on UK roads, and over 90% of traffic collisions were caused by human error.
“I want to make sure the current generation of young adults about to start their driving career have the best possible introduction to what we want to be a lifetime of safe driving,” he said.
“Younger drivers are currently around 5 to 7 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with car drivers aged 25 or over… [This change] will enable novice drivers to experience the broadest possible range of driving experiences in a supportive environment.”
The Benefits of Allowing Learners to Drive on Motorways:
- You get a broader driving experience before you take your test
- You get training on advanced manoeuvres like joining and leaving the motorway, overtaking, and the advanced use of lanes
- You get practice on driving at higher speeds
- You get to put your theoretical knowledge into practice
Learning to Drive?
Are you currently learning to drive, or will you be starting lessons soon?
If so, you could benefit from some motorway lessons. Talk to your instructor, and if they feel you’re ready, you could be practising driving on the motorway in no time.
And if you need some learner driver insurance for total peace of mind during your lessons, we’ve got you covered.