News story: Learner drivers will be allowed on motorways from 2018

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Allowing learner drivers to have lessons on motorways will help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely.

At the moment, you can only have driving lessons on motorways after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.

How the change will work

The change will apply to England, Scotland and Wales.

Learner drivers will need to be:

  • accompanied by an approved driving instructor
  • driving a car fitted with dual controls

Any motorways lessons will be voluntary. It will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough to have a motorway lesson.

Trainee driving instructors won’t be allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway.

Motorway driving will be not be included in the driving test changes coming into force on 4 December 2017.

The change will only apply to learner drivers of cars – learner motorcyclists won’t be allowed to have motorway lessons.

When the change will happen

The exact date in 2018 will be confirmed nearer the time.

The change will be well-publicised so driving instructors and learner drivers are prepared for the change, and other road users know what to expect. The Highway Code rules on motorways will also be updated.

Until the law is changed, it’s still illegal for a learner driver to drive on a motorway.

Driving instructor vehicles and training

Driving instructors will be allowed to decide whether or not to keep their driving school roof-top box on during motorway lessons, based on the manufacturer’s instructions.

However, the car will still need to display L plates on the front and rear if the rooftop box is removed.

It will be up to the instructor whether or not they keep their driving school roof-top box on – but the car will still have to display L plates on the front and rear

Guidance for driving instructors

DVSA won’t give driving instructors extra training on providing motorway lessons, but learning materials and the car driving syllabus will be updated to incorporate motorway lessons.

DVSA will also work with driving instructor associations and Highways England to provide extra guidance and advice for driving instructors.

Preparing drivers for a lifetime of safe driving

The changes are being made to allow learner drivers to:

  • get broader driving experience before taking their driving test
  • get training on how to join and leave the motorway, overtake and use lanes correctly
  • practise driving at higher speeds
  • put their theoretical knowledge into practice