Learner drivers now allowed on the motorway for lessons

And the first learner to do so as the new law came into effect was 17-year-old Finbar King

A new law came into effect on Monday 4 June which allows learner drivers to have lessons on the motorway and the first learner to do so was 17-year-old Finbar King from St Albans.

The young learner drove onto the M25 for his first motorway driving lesson with his instructor on Monday at 00:01, just as the new law came into effect.

Now, all provisional licence holders have the opportunity to have lessons driving on the UK’s motorway network so long as they and their instructor feel the time is right.

The car in which they enter the motorway must be dual-control and each learner must be accompanied by an approved driving instructor. The car will stand out to other motorway users because of the L Plates stuck on the front and back.

The son of AA President Edmund King, Finbar King, drove onto the motorway with his AA instructor Mark Harrison and enjoyed his first lesson but did comment on the number of lorries.

The 17-year-old, who’s an A-Level student, was asked whether he thought the new law change was a good idea: “Yes, I do, as it seems silly that you could pass your test and then five minutes later drive on a motorway alone without ever having been taught to do it safely.”

Whilst the new law allows learner drivers to take lessons on the motorway, there are still no plans to add a motorway-driving section to the driving test.
“Allowing learner drivers to have motorway lessons with a qualified road safety expert will help more young drivers to gain the skills and experience they need to drive safely on motorways,” said Road Safety Minister, Jesse Norman.

According to statistics, newly-qualified drivers are at their most vulnerable during the six months after passing the driving test, with road collisions the second biggest killer of young people in the UK.

It’s believed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that this might be because many newly-qualified drivers opt for rural roads to get from A to B rather than jumping on the motorway which they have no experience of driving on.

Statistics have shown that in 2015, 80% of all young driver deaths occurred on rural roads.

New research carried out by the AA found that 8% of drivers taking part in the survey said they avoided motorways for around six months after passing their driving test.

Of the 20,435 motorists taking part in the survey, just 25% said they felt confident enough to drive on the motorway after passing their test. However, over a quarter (27%) said they were scared when they did finally drive on the motorway for the first time, with women (46%) more than twice as likely as men to admit to it (18%).

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