Learner drivers can now choose to have lessons on motorways in a bid to make new drivers better prepared for Britain’s fastest roads.
However, more than three in five drivers (61 per cent) reckon motorway driving should be included in the driving test as standard and that students should be tested on motorways before being handed their licence.
This is according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 IAM RoadSmart members.
Before the law change, drivers could only take motorway lessons after they had passed their driving test, while some newly-qualified drivers were able to take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.
Motorway lessons won’t be mandatory because not all motorists will use a motorway or live close enough to make it worth their while.
However, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says the lessons would be a good opportunity for learners to further develop their skills and experience before driving on their own.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said the decision to allow learner drivers on to motorways was common sense.
“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,” he commented.
All motorway driving lessons must be with a DVSA-approved instructor and in a dual-controlled car, which Mr Greig considered to be “a welcome safeguard that will ensure consistent levels of training and a proper phased introduction to motorway driving skills”.
He added: “Delays and injuries caused by driver error blight our motorways and, with new systems such as smart motorways being widely introduced, it is vital that the level of knowledge and skill among motorway users is improved to keep our key economic routes flowing.”
Ben Robb, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, said: “No motorist will be forced to take motorway lessons, but they should seriously consider them. Anything that makes new drivers better prepared for life on the road can only be a positive thing.”