Driver training to be given overhaul

This is a warning to all domestic and commercial driving instructors! As of next year, your car, lorry or van insurance premiums may be in for a sharp increase. Before you yell and shriek that they are too high already, we’ll just give you a minute to sit down before you hear the double whammy: from 2012, learner drivers will have the option to include motorway driving as part of their tuition.
That’s the official line from road safety minister, Mike Penning, anyway.
The train of thought behind the concept is based upon a recognition of need for change in two main effectual areas; it may be a bitter pill for driving instructors to swallow but should come as a welcome relief for apprentices looking for cheap van insurance for young drivers. One of the reasons that their van insurance is so high is lack of experience, which the new theory will seek to correct.
As things stand, learner drivers have the opportunity to take extra lessons to learn how to drive safely on the motorway after they have passed their standard theory and practical test; this course is known as the Pass Plus test, but has proved spectacularly unpopular since its inauguration. The present rate of take-up is only one percent of all new drivers so the decision has been made to scrap it completely.
It also challenges the idea that young drivers are being instructed in such a manner as purely to pass a test and not ‘enjoy’ every freedom driving has to offer. It is perceived that the more experience young drivers get in all aspects behind the wheel, the safer they will be and, subsequently, so will our roads. At least with an Advanced Driving Instructor, for it is only they who will be permitted to take learners onto the motorways, a young driver will not be left to their own devices to realise the somewhat intimidating experience of motorway driving on their own first time around.
Once young drivers have been given the green light to learn on motorways, the UK’s safest roads, it is hoped more attention will be placed on taking them out along country lanes, conversely our most dangerous..
In addition to the widening of experiences being offered to learner drivers, trainee instructors are also having their role assessed. There are concerns over the number of trainee instructors actually showing their ‘pink disc’ to show they have not fully qualified, which is a legal requirement.
There is a lot of work going on to improve the route to road-worthiness in the overall battle to reduce the number of deaths on UK roads. Ministerial departments, the IAM and the Driving Standards Agency are all working with car and van insurance companies to ensure that a more defined structure during learning will provide safer roads and help reduce the immense premiums for those who have just passed their tests and are looking for suitably cheap car and van insurance, which is currently difficult to procure.
2014 has been pencilled in for the date of introduction for the new tests for learner drivers and instructors, alike.

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