Learner drivers could soon be taking to motorways under proposals outlined by the government.
Ministers are consulting on plans to allow those learning to drive to have lessons on motorways with their instructor.
The lessons would be voluntary.
At the moment, you can only have driving lessons on motorways after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.
Responding to the proposals, Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, 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."
The Times has reported that the government is also considering introducing a minimum learning period for novices:
"Learner drivers could be made to spend up to 120 hours behind the wheel before sitting their test under government plans to cut accidents.
"Ministers are considering a mandatory minimum learning period to prevent young motorists from taking to the road alone with little practice. At present they can sit the driving test as soon as they turn 17, and some pass with 20 hours’ experience or less."
Previous research by the RAC Foundation has shown that one in five young drivers will have an accident within six months of passing their test.
Steve Gooding said:
"While it is widely recognised that novice drivers need to practice skills and gain experience before taking the practical test, the statistics suggest that many are in fact taking the test too soon for their own good.
"The challenge with prescribing a minimum number of driving hours is not just in the practicality of logging accompanied motoring, but with calibrating what that minimum should be.
"The fact is that some people will always need more than just the bare minimum to amass the range of experience they need to become safe drivers."
Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation
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Notes to editors:
The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.
The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at: www.racfoundation.org