The changes to the UK’s driving test are due to come into effect on December 4th 2017, which include following a sat-nav, and the replacement of the left reverse (reverse around a corner) maneuver with a much more controversial one. However, over the weekend the government announced that now all learner drivers will be allowed to have motorway lessons, in a dual control approved car with a qualified instructor.
Calls for the improvement of the already proposed driving test changes were made when independent researchers ruled that the current UK driving test doesn’t go far enough to ensure high driving standards. However, when the changes were announced in March 2017, critics still were unsatisfied with the outcomes with one in three drivers surveyed by confused.com (amounting to around 15 million people) think that they still don’t go far enough, and don’t tackle what is perceived to be a ‘lack of crucial skills and behaviours’.
Around three quarters of the drivers believed that motorway driving should be a key part of teaching and testing, and it was formally announced by the government, that this was due to come into effect in 2018, but with no date formally announced. Previously, pass-plus schemes were offered to already passed drivers to help them to hone their driving skills, including a six hour motorway course, however government figures have revealed that only 3% of drivers opt to take it.
Despite motorways being the safest roads in Britain, and having the lowest accident rates, they are still daunting prospects for newly qualified drivers who are now able to take to the 70mph roads without the proviso of any training. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said that the addition of standard motorway lessons will make UK roads even safer than they already are; “Younger drivers are up to seven times more likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with drivers over 25, and lack of experience is an important factor. Allowing learners to drive on motorways in a supportive environment will help them develop a practical understanding of how to use motorways safely before driving independently.”
The introduction to motorways has been met with widespread praise from a number of Road Safety charities, pointing to the assertion that it has been a long time coming. However, there has been some concerns from drivers about the safety of inexperienced drivers on the UK’s fastest roads, with many calling for a further test for motorways after the initial test.