Mike Penning has revealed new plans that will help ADIs, with more training hours by allowing motorway driving to learner drivers whilst under supervision of an ADI in a dual controlled car and by ending the current trainee licence scheme, which was introduced in the 1960′s.
ADIs have been pushing for motorway driving for learner drivers and now their wish has been answered. Learner drivers have been allowed on all roads apart from motorways, giving them no experience for when they pass their practical test. Mike Penning said:
“We have been looking at the whole of driver testing and training regime to make sure that all new drivers are properly prepared for life on the roads. “This includes investigating how learners could be given experience of motorway driving while ensuring safety. My aim is for this change to be implemented next year following a full public consultation.”
Learner drivers get a lot of experience on roads, but it has been noticed high speed driving is not possible in all areas of the country with no dual carriageways available. Making motorways accessible to learner drivers give them the ability to practice in the correct environment and experience high speed driving before they pass their practical driving test. MSA Editor, John Lepine said:
“We have been pursuing this policy for many years. In the evidence given by the MSA to the Transport Select Committee a couple of years ago we said:
‘Learner drivers should be allowed on motorways with driving instructors in dual-controlled cars. We think it is very important, not just because they need to be prepared for driving on motorways, but because in a number of areas the road systems have no fast dual carriageways apart from motorways.‘
In such areas, if we prevent learner drivers from going on motorways we are preventing them from driving at high speed. “A motorway is just another road and the difference between that and a major dual carriageway is not that great. Where there are motorways available to an instructor, he or she should be allowed to take their pupils on them when they are ready”.
Underpinning the move is a great concern at the number of young drivers being killed and seriously injured on the country’s motorways. According to figures compiled by the Department for Transport, 82 drivers under 21 years olds were involved in fatal motorway crashes between 2006 and 2010.
The initiative reflects growing ministerial concerns at the current testing regime which, it is felt, does not prepare drivers for life behind the wheel.
Since taking office, Penning has stopped driving test centres publicising the routes which will be used during the examination.
He has also banned the publishing of answers to the theory test to prevent candidates learning by rote.
Penning has implemented the end of the current trainee licence, which has been in place since the 1960’s assisting trainee driving instructors to gain valuable teaching experience and get paid for it.
ADIs have had strong views regarding the trainee licence for decades, as PDIs normally charge the same as ADIs. They believe that PDIs should not be teaching for more than 15 to 20 hours per week, whilst using the rest of the time studying for the ADI Part 3 test. Penning met with a number of ADI groups and realised a solution should have been enforced years ago, especially as the ADITE/ORDIT was introduced. ADITE/ORBIT properly inspects training, taking away the need for unqualified trainers to perform tuition on the public for a fee.
“It is a legal requirement for trainee driving instructors to display the pink licence disc to show learner drivers that they are not fully qualified. However, we are aware that there are concerns about the use of trainee licences and I share those concerns. We are reviewing the training process for instructors as part of our work to modernise the driver-training industry.”