As the current driving laws in the UK stand-learner drivers are not required or allowed to participate in motorway lessons prior to a practical driving test.
With many organisations and charities campaigning for change- this article shall look at the reasons why learners don’t have driving lessons on the motorway, before or even after their practical test.
Learner drivers have never been allowed to have lessons on the motorway in the UK. However- there was a break through in 1995, when the former DSA introduced a new scheme – Pass Plus. Although, it wasn’t to enable leaner drivers to have lessons on a motorway, it did however, highlight the need for extra driving tuition posttest. Covering six modules to include: town driving, night driving, rural road driving, all weather driving, dual carriageway driving and all motorway driving. However- this new scheme wasn’t made compulsory.
Over the past 19 years, the Pass Plus scheme has lost its appeal, with many insurance companies not honouring the once favoured insurance policy discount in favour of the extra non-compulsory tuition. In its prime, newly qualified drivers could expect to save up to 30 percent on the car insurance premiums, with the DSA themselves informing candidates of insurance companies that do offer insurance discounts within their Pass Plus packs. Nowadays, there are still companies offering discounts, but a mere 5 percent discount is about as much as a learner could expect.
According to moneysupermarket.com, a learner driver should research all insurance companies- not just ones who offer discounts for Pass Plus training. With all this in mind- is their much incentive for the extra training?
In November 2011, a Freedom of Information (FOI) was made to find out the success of the Pass Plus scheme. The DSA announced that they do not obtain road safety records as to its success. In which suggests that the DVSA (DSA) can’t prove the success of such scheme. If they can’t, then why would a new driver want to partake in such training?
For many years the debate has continued to be rife amongst road safety partnerships, including the Institute of Advanced Motoring (IAM), Driving Instructor Association (DIS) Motoring School Association (MSA) where there are conflicting ideals to this problematic saga.
IAM Chief Executive Simon Best is in favour of learner tuition on the motorway. As Motoring.co.uk reported, “Human error is the main contributory factor in seventy-one percent of injury crashes on motorways, and surveys suggest drivers often lack confidence on motorway use.” Other recommendations come from road safety charity Brake- whereby they state that new drivers should be on a ‘novice’ style licence lasting two years from the point in which they pass their driving test. This ‘novice’ style licence would consist of certain restrictions, which would see the new driver NOT being allowed on the motorway in the first two years of being a full licence holder. With one charity in favour of learner motorway training, and the other recommending no driving at all for two years post test. It’s no wonder why this saga continues.
In 2011, Road Minister Mike Penning announced plans to allow learners to be able to have motorway lessons with a qualified instructor. But also announced that this wouldn’t be made compulsory due to learners living in remote areas and not having motorways accessible. The change in the law, which would have come into effect from 2012-has undoubtedly, evaporated into thin air. In 2014, there are still no new changes to the law and yet again no new evidence to suggest that things will be changing any time soon.
Whether you are for motorway lessons or not; if the DVSA can’t keep their own scheme alive, and the Government don’t make post-test tuition compulsory, I cant see any changes happening with learners being allowed on the motorway prior to their driving test.
One great scheme has been launched via Somerset Road Safety; where they are giving away free motorway tuition and workshops to selected new drivers. Knowing the importance of such training, a budget has been allocated to help give valuable experience to newly qualified drivers. With a limit per month of 16; potential new drivers should apply in the first instance. You can find out more information at: http://somersetroadsafety.morphserve.net/page/up-to-speed/182/