The plans will be announced by Andrew Jones, Transport Minister, this morning (30 December) and include learner drivers being allowed on motorways for the first time, novice riders required to complete a theory test as part of their Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) and provisional motorcyclists to be banned after receiving six penalty points.
The Government says the changes will see competent learner drivers able to have lessons on motorways with an approved driving instructor in a dual controlled car.
In addition the CBT course, which allows motorcyclists to ride unaccompanied on Great Britain’s roads, will also be updated.
The moves have been greeted by IAM RoadSmart, which has long campaigned for these changes.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research, said: “It makes no sense that new drivers learn by trial and, often fatal, error how to use our fastest and most important roads. Allowing learners on motorways with an approved instructor is a sensible and measured solution that should deliver drivers who are much better able to cope with complex new smart motorways.”
On the changes to motorcycle training, he said: “These proposals close two obvious loopholes that IAM RoadSmart has been highlighting with motorcycle industry training partners. A theory test should always be the first step for any motorised road user before they reach the road. The six penalty point approach also finally brings motorcycle users in line with the New Driver’s Act for car drivers.”
A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said: “We welcome these plans. Anything that will provide young drivers with more realistic training to prepare them for when they become independent drivers is good. Driving under the supervision of an ADI (approved driving instructor) and practising entry and exit from slip roads and overtaking will be good experience for learner drivers. We would also be in favour of measures that included a minimum number of hours of training.
“At the moment, research finds that young drivers who do not undertake post-test training, which is the majority of them, feel daunted by the prospect of going on to a motorway for the first time. This means that some may refrain from using motorways, which are the safest roads in the country, and instead use roads that are not as safe.”
The Department for Transport and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have jointly launched consultations seeking views, which will run until 17 February 2017.The changes could take effect by 2018.