Six months to the day since the law was modified allowing Approved Driving Instructors (ADI’s) to assist students on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales, new data from Marmalade, the leading provider of telematics insurance and cars for young drivers, shows not enough learner drivers are grasping the opportunity.

According to Marmalade’s latest survey, 41% of ADI’s said that only a small minority of their pupils have requested a motorway lesson whilst more than a quarter (26%) revealed that none of their students have requested one.

Crispin Moger, CEO for Marmalade, comments: “Giving motorway access to learner drivers was a really encouraging shift by the government because it gives learner drivers access, in a supportive environment, to develop their skillset before they become qualified drivers. The announcement was quite timely given that our annual Census** revealed that motorway driving was the top ‘real life’ scenario that learner drivers (77%) wanted to experience, followed by night time driving (71%) and rush hour driving (60%).

“Not being a compulsory part of the driving test, I understand why learner drivers are not making it an essential part of their lessons. The government has been teasing us with various announcements concerning a graduated licence for newly qualified drivers, however we are still waiting for something more concrete. As part of this scheme, I’d highly recommend the introduction of motorway driving to showcase a broader, realistic and practical perception of driving. Doing this will eliminate any long-term anxiety as individuals will be more prepared.”

Last year, 68.7 billion vehicle miles were covered on motorways resulting in traffic on these roads reaching a new all-time high and almost 10% higher than five years ago. On 4 June 2018, the government announced their update following changes to the driving test six months previous, in their attempt to support learner drivers on their journey on becoming more skilled, confident and safe motorists. Despite the UK automotive infrastructure consisting of 50 motorways, learner drivers had until then been forbidden from experiencing them through their training process.

The Department for Transport has received wide support from driving instructors regarding the motorway law change. Matthew Lee, Driving Instructor for Around the Bend says: “I feel it enhances the pupils skills in planning for the route ahead and gives them a more focused view of their road and planning for issues that may arise.”

During a motorway lesson, Matthew says he covers the following: The approach to the motorway including the slip road and the speed; the various signs one may see whilst on the road such as gantry lights and smart motorway signs; how to overtake safely and exiting a motorway. 

Crispin concludes: “Young drivers (under 25’s) are statistically more likely to be killed or seriously injured compared to older drivers and one of the main reasons for that is lack of experience. Despite motorways statistically being the UK’s safest roads, they can be a daunting and complex experience, even for the more qualified driver. I’d highly encourage learner drivers to grasp this opportunity to practice driving at higher speeds, learning about motorway signs, apply their theoretical knowledge and obtain the crucial knowledge and confidence needed for optimum safety when driving.”

For more information about Marmalade visit www.wearemarmalade.co.uk