Last year the government launched a consultation on whether learner drivers should be allowed to practise on motorways – but a recent survey reveals that British motorists are already giving the potential move two thumbs up.
The government’s proposals would see learners allowed to head out onto a motorway before their test as long as they are accompanied by a professional instructor and are in a car fitted with dual-controls.
While we wait for the consultation’s outcome, the RAC has revealed in a survey of 2,000 motorists that 79% of respondents thought learners should be allowed onto motorways with 78% stating that learner driving standards would be driven up as a result. Nearly a fifth of those surveyed thought that introducing motorway driving would make no difference – and only a tiny 3% thought it might actually drive down safety standards.
Perhaps such a positive reaction from the public shouldn’t come as a surprise – after all, only 14% of those surveyed felt that they themselves were ready for driving on Britain’s fastest roads once they’d passed their own practical and theory tests.
Revealing what is potentially a serious driver education issue, half of the motorists said that neither test had prepared them for driving on the motorway with 40% stating that they only felt partially prepared. As a result, nearly 60% of those surveyed revealed that they were either somewhat or very nervous when heading out onto a motorway for the first time.
Tragically, 1% of respondents were so scared at the idea that they have never been on a motorway since qualifying to drive – this despite the fact that motorways are Britain’s safest roads.
While the RAC thinks it’s an “apt time” to introduce the policy, the organisation was at pains to point out that it should be up to approved driving instructors to decide if a pupil is actually ready and able to have a lesson on a motorway – and that the Government must provide clear guidance on how ADIs should assess whether a learner is ready for a motorway-based lesson.
“Many learner drivers do not live in an area which has access to the motorway network. In addition, those drivers that live regions furthest away from a motorway are less likely to drive on one on a regular basis. Such high speeds can make a driver who has recently passed test feel nervous and more vulnerable the first time they venture on to these types of roads.”
– Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman