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Changes to the UK driving test have created a new law to allow learner drivers to drive on the motorway for the first time during a lesson
As part of efforts to reflect modern-day driving in the learning process, learners can now go onto motorways as long as their car is a dual-control vehicle wearing L-plates and they are with an instructor
New laws will be effective from 4 June. Although learners still won't be taken onto the motorway during their test, allowing access to motorways on a lesson are intended to better prepare new drivers for a section of road that they were previously not allowed to use — something that many safety experts said was a hindrance to driving standards.
A new online Driving Hub has been launched to help learners prepare themselves for the motorways
The addition of motorway driving follows the introduction of a new and modernised driving test. The changes now task candidates with more manoeuvres, such as reverse bay parking and some manoeuvres have been removed. The new test also aims to address a more modern day approach by integrating a sat-nav into the test for the first time.
During the test drivers are asked to follow directions to a predetermined destination enabling examiners to assess a driver's ability to follow instruction while also adhering to road signs.
The independent driving section now lasts 20 minutes as examiners asks learners to follow signs to a pre-determined destination without further instruction or the use of sat-nav. Examiners will also ask safety questions while the driver is on the move and to turn on controls such as heated rear screens.
Edmund King, president of the AA, has welcomed the changes earlier this year, commenting “We know that new drivers are a higher risk on the roads, therefore we need to better prepare them for real-world driving. These changes will test drivers in a more realistic manner, which is essential to improving their safety once their L-plates are removed. The changes, particularly the extended independent driving and use of a sat-nav, should help to produce better, safer motorists.
“We have already had positive feedback from our driving instructors and their pupils, and therefore fully support these proposed changes.
“In the future, we will need to see further changes to the test when we have more electric, connected and semi-autonomous cars on our roads.”
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