Learner drivers to be allowed on motorways for first time

Government launches driver and motorcyclist training improvement plans

Plans to improve driver and motorcyclist training in Great Britain were announced by Transport Minister, Andrew Jones on Friday 30 December 2016. The proposed changes will see competent learner drivers able to have lessons on motorways with an approved driving instructor in a dual controlled car. Allowing learners on a motorway is expected improve the awareness and experience of new drivers, which is aimed at boosting safety on roads in Great Britain.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world and we want to make them even safer. These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skill set which will improve safety levels on our roads.”

The Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course, which allows motorcyclists to ride unaccompanied on Great Britain’s roads and has largely remained unchanged since its introduction in 1990, will also be updated. The changes, which will see motorcycle training move more in line with driver training, include requiring: Novice riders to do a theory test as part of their CBT course; Revoking CBT certificates if a provisional licence holder gets six penalty points; Restricting learner riders to use automatic motorcycles if they take their CBT on one.

Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA Chief Executive, said:  “DVSA’s first priority is helping everyone stay safe on Britain’s roads. Our roads are amongst the safest in the world but we are determined to do more to improve safety for all road users including newly qualified drivers and motorcyclists.

“We want to modernise driver and motorcycle training so that novice drivers and riders gain the skills and knowledge they need to help them to stay safe on our roads.”

Other changes to the motorcycle training include introducing a training course to allow existing riders to upgrade their licence and improving the way instructors are qualified and quality assured.

The Department for Transport (DfT) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have launched consultations seeking views on the measures to improve training for new drivers and motorcyclists. The consultations will run until 17 February 2017 and the changes could come into force in 2018.

RAC Director, Steve Gooding, 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.”

When asked about the measures to improve motorcycle training Steve Gooding, said: “This package of measures, taken together, should deliver a welcome streamlining of the process for qualifying as an instructor and improve both the content and administration of basic training for novice motorcycle riders.”

In 2016, 2,500 instructors issued 190,800 CBT certificates.

From April 2015 until March 2016 DVSA conducted 51,090 motorcycle theory tests and 39,787 off road and 37,925 on road motorcycle tests.


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