Learner drivers could soon be able to drive on Britain's motorways, the government has announced, as part of new plans to modernise training for both learner car drivers and motorcyclists.
The plans would see 'competent' learner drivers taught how to handle the UK's motorway network by an approved instructor at the wheel of a dual-controlled car - that is, one with two sets of driving controls.
Currently drivers can only venture onto motorways once they have passed their practical driving test. Once passed, some drivers are taught motorway best practice through the government's official Pass Plus scheme, which also covers rural and urban driving, as well as driving in inclement weather. However, like the current driving test, motorway driving will not form part of a driver's final assessment as there is "limited access" to motorways in some parts of the country.
The current scheme for training motorcyclists, known as the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course, is also set to change, with new measures including the addition of a theory test, revoking a CBT certificate if a provisional rider gets six penalty points, and restricting learners to using automatic motorcycles if they take their test on one.
Announcing the initiatives today, Transport Minister Andrew Jones said the measures were aimed at improving safety on British roads. "We have some of the safest roads in the world and we want to make them even safer," he said. "These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skill set which will improve safety levels on our roads."
Chief executive for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Gareth Llewellyn added: "We want to modernise driver and motorcycle training so that novice drivers and riders gain the skills and knowledge they need to help them stay safe."
Motoring charity the RAC foundation has said that although motorways are some of the safest roads in the country, they can be daunting for new drivers , with some choosing deliberately to travel on statistically more dangerous roads in order to avoid them.
A formal consulation on the plans has been launched, and will run until 17 February. If approved, these measures could come into force as soon as 2018.
The plans, which were first announced last year, form part of a £2 million research project launched last year, aimed at improving motoring education.
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