In Brief

Learner drivers are given green light for motorway lessons

Experts say new laws are a positive step for young motorists but some fear the training vehicles are unsuited for driving at 70mph

Novice drivers across Britain could soon be allowed to drive on motorways thanks to new laws introduced today. 

The changes will help young drivers gain experience and become more confident on motorways, says BBC News

Prior to the new laws, drivers could only travel on motorways after they had passed their practical exam.

To drive on motorways, learner drivers will need to be accompanied by an instructor in a car fitted with dual-controls, says The Sun. This means the instructor can control the pedals if needed.

Driving instructors will not be required to provide pupils with motorway training, however. It’s up to the individual tutor to decide whether a learner is ready for high-speed roads or not, Sky News reports. 

There are no plans to change the driving test by adding a section dedicated to navigating motorways, the broadcaster says. 

Are the new laws safe?

The move to allow learner drivers onto motorways has been praised by many motoring experts. 

AA chief Edmond King said: “Young drivers are drastically over-represented in crashes. This change, which will help broaden the opportunities they have while learning, is very positive.

“It is somewhat perverse that five minutes after passing the driving test a new driver could venture alone on to a motorway without having had any motorway tuition”, he added.

There are worries that vehicles used to train young motorists may not be up to the task. 

The National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) warns that “top boxes” with an L symbol used on driving instructor vehicles could fall off at high speeds, The Daily Telegraph reports. This could put motorists at risk.

Before approaching motorways, the NASP advises instructors to check that the L-branded top box on their training vehicle can withstand prolonged periods of driving at 70mph, says the newspaper.

A spokesperson for NASP said: “Many top boxes can be used at high speed, but it is advisable to check with the manufacturer about the maximum rated speed.”

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