Motorways will be open to learner drivers as part of a move to make them less daunting and improve road safety standards, it has been announced.
Current law stipulates that motorways are off limits to those without a driving licence, but a rule change previously announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) back in 2015 will make that a thing of the past.
From 2018, those with a provisional licence and from England, Wales and Scotland will be able to practice driving on a motorway as part of a lesson providing they are with an approved instructor and in a dual-control car.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said it was an important move that will make life safer for all road users, not just for those who have recently passed.
“Allowing learners to drive on motorways in a supportive environment will help them develop a practical understanding of how to use motorways safely before driving independently. The UK has some of the safest roads in the world and we want to make them even safer,” he said.
Provisional estimates from the DfT suggest there were 1,810 deaths on UK roads in the year to September, 2016. Despite being some of the busiest roads and also the fastest, thanks to a top speed of 70mph, motorways are statistically the safest.
Speaking to the BBC, RAC safety spokesperson Pete Williams said that drivers it had spoken with were “overwhelmingly supportive” of motorway lessons, adding that “it can be daunting using [motorways] for the first time after passing the driving test”.
The practical driving test is being shaken up at the end of 2017, but for now motorway driving will remain untested. You can read our guide to what is new here.