Image: Highways England, via Flickr.
A new RAC survey suggests an ‘overwhelming majority’ of motorists believe learner drivers should be allowed to take driving lessons on the motorway.
79% of the 2,000-plus motorists questioned were in favour of the Government’s proposal to let learners take driving lessons on the motorway, with an approved instructor in a dual-controlled car.
The RAC survey results were published today (20 June), with the outcome of a DfT and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) consultation due to be announced imminently.
Under the proposals, first announced by the DVSA in December 2016, motorways lessons will be voluntary and it will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is sufficiently competent to have a motorway lesson.
The RAC says with the introduction of new concepts including smart motorways, now is a good time to implement the policy, but says the Government should publish guidance on how to assess whether a learner is sufficiently competent to drive on a motorway.
The RAC adds the ‘overwhelming’ support is not surprising given that 49% of those surveyed said that they did not feel the practical and theory tests adequately prepared them for motorway driving. 39% said they felt partially prepared, with only 14% considering themselves to have been fully prepared.
Asked to recall how they felt the first time they used a motorway, 42% of respondents said they were somewhat nervous and 16% admitted to being very nervous.
Pete Williams, the RAC’s road safety spokesman, said: “The RAC supports the proposal to allow learner drivers to have the option of motorway driving lessons. We would not, however, be in favour of making such a measure mandatory as many learner drivers do not live in an area which has access to the motorway network.
“Statistically, motorways are the UK’s safest roads, but they do present significant risks by virtue of the fact that motorists are in a high-speed environment. Such high speeds can make a driver who has recently passed their practical test feel nervous and more vulnerable the first time they venture on to these types of roads.”
Want to know more about learner drivers and road safety?
Online library of research and reports etc – visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre
Key facts and summaries of research reports – visit the Road Safety Observatory (young drivers)