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Learner drivers allowed on motorways

An L plate on a blue carLearner drivers will be allowed on motorways from next year, the government has announced.

Road Safety Minister, Mike Penning, announced that learners will be able to have driving lessons on motorways in an attempt to cut the death toll among novice motorists.

Currently, learner drivers are not allowed on motorways but can use them  as soon as they pass their test, without any training.

The radical changes to the current driving system were revealed at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM's) annual conference.

This change will come into force from next year.

Better driving training

Road safety groups have campaigned for better driver training to cut the road deaths, particularly among young drivers.

Statistics from road safety charity Brake show that only one in eight driver licence holders is aged 25 or under in the UK, yet one in three drivers who die is under 25.

And an 18-year-old driver is three times more likely  to be involved in a crash as a 48 year-old, and one in five new drivers has a crash within six months of passing their test.

However, the change will not be made compulsory as  learner drivers  in rural areas  would struggle to find a motorway nearby.

The IAM welcomed the move.

Chief executive Simon Best said: “This change will mean that properly supervised young drivers can learn how to drive on a motorway with somebody beside them.

“Motorways are, after all, our safest roads.

“As part of the changes to the test, we would also like to see more training for learners on rural roads - our most dangerous roads."

But Brake says there is still a long way to go to make Britain’s roads safer.

Julie Townsend, campaigns director, said: “It’s positive the government is looking at measures to reduce risk and develop skills among newly licensed drivers.

“However, simply allowing learners to take instruction on motorways doesn’t go far enough.

“To reduce the devastating crashes and casualties that involve young drivers, we recommend wider reform of our learning to drive system, including a minimum learning period and restrictions for novice drivers, to protect them from the most dangerous situations.”

They’re also calling on the government to introduce ‘graduated driver licensing’, which would restrict new drivers throughout a probation period. Read more about graduated licensing and plans to ban intensive driving tests here.

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Lois Avery

Lois Avery

Lois joined in 2010 after working for Dyson and as a local newspaper reporter in Wiltshire. After a year writing financial journalism at, Lois won the 2011 'most promising newcomer' at the BIBA journalist of the year awards.

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