DVSA Formal Notification

Learner drivers will be allowed to drive on motorways, from 4 June 2018, providing they’re accompanied by an approved driving instructor (ADI) in a dual controlled car.

 

This is set to be one of the biggest shake-ups in driver training in many years and comes nearly 60 years after the UK’s first stretch of motorway opened.  Driving on a motorway can feel very different from driving on most other roads. Allowing learner drivers to drive on the motorway will give them:

  • broader driving experience before taking their driving test
  • training on how to join and leave the motorway, overtake and use lanes correctly
  • practice driving at higher speeds
  • understanding of motorway-specific traffic signs
  • understanding of what to do if a vehicle breaks down on a motorway
  • confidence to drive on the motorway unsupervised after passing their driving test.

Transport Minister, Jesse Norman, said:

“The shocking fact is that younger drivers are up to seven times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers over 25. Lack of experience contributes to their vulnerability.  Allowing learners to drive on motorways, with the support of an experienced driving instructor, will help them to develop a practical understanding of how to use motorways safely, and it will prepare them to drive on them alone.”

The Department for Transport consulted on these changes in December 2016. They received widespread support from learner drivers, the driver training industry, road safety organisations and the general public. These changes apply to England, Wales and Scotland only.

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:

“DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving. Our roads are among the safest in the world, but we’re determined to do more to make them safer. By allowing learners to have lessons on motorways, we are making sure learners get the skills and experience they need to drive on fast, busy roads.”

Only approved driving instructors with dual controlled cars will be allowed to give motorway lessons. They will only do this if they are confident the learner has the skills and knowledge to drive on the motorway safely.

Highways England Chief Executive, Jim O’Sullivan, said:

“Safety is our number one priority and we welcome the change which will help equip learner drivers to drive safely on motorways when they have passed their tests. We look forward to supporting the motorway drivers of tomorrow as they develop these new driving skills and get invaluable practical knowledge and experience of using motorways.”

The best place for learner drivers to find a fully-qualified instructor who meets their needs is www.gov.uk/drivinglessons. From here, they can also check instructor grades (this is awarded to them by DVSA), and whether they follow the driving instructor code of practice and develop their knowledge and skills each year.

NASP chair Peter Harvey, MBE said:

“The partners in NASP are very pleased to see that learner drivers are, at last, being allowed to drive on motorways. Driver trainers have been campaigning for many years to be able to teach learner drivers the vital skills needed on motorways before they pass their driving tests.

“We have been preparing for this announcement for quite some time, and have been and continue offering advice and training to our members on best practice when they take novice drivers on to a motorway for the first time.

“We have produced guidelines which are available on the NASP website. We are keen to emphasise to driver trainers that they should only take learners on to motorways when the learner is ready. Learner drivers should not expect their instructor to be giving them motorway training until they are ‘test ready’.”

Foot Note

Only fully-qualified driving instructors - who have passed enhanced criminal record checks and had their ability to teach assessed to a set standard - are allowed to have their details shown on www.gov.uk/drivinglessons.

  • Younger drivers are currently around 5 to 7 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than car drivers aged 25 or over.
  • 120 young car drivers died in 2015. Of these 80% occurred on rural roads, 16% on urban roads and 4% on motorways
  • 3% of new drivers had taken a Pass Plus course in 2015/16
  • 8% of drivers fail to comply with the ‘red X’ on smart motorways
  • Over 99% of people who pass their driving test say they’ve had some professional tuition
  • Less than 1% of people who pass their driving test say they’ve taken no professional tuition
  • 85% of the population of Great Britain is within 20 miles of a motorway junction