The Department for Transport has unveiled a raft of measures to improve the safety of Britain’s roads.
The proposals will ensure learner drivers are properly prepared before their test, including the chance to gain motorway experience with an approved driving instructor. This follows plans announced last month to introduce a deposit which is returned to the learner driver if they pass, encouraging them to take their test when they are ready.
Other measures to take priority in the government’s plan for road safety include funding to train the next generation of cyclists and extra money for police forces to crack down on drug drivers.
The main proposals announced are set out below:
- Learner drivers will for the first time be offered the opportunity to drive on motorways. The proposals would see learners allowed to take a motorway driving lesson with an approved driving instructor in a dual controlled car. This is designed to make drivers safer once they have passed their test.
- Police forces across the country will be able to remove more dangerous drivers from UK roads, thanks to new government funding. A £750,000 grant for police forces in England and Wales will fund more officers with drug recognition and impairment testing skills to enable more effective and targeted enforcement.
- A grant of £50m over the next four years will support Bikeability cycle training in schools. This funding will help to increase children’s road awareness, encouraging children to be healthy and active. Since its inception, more than 1.5m school children have received training through the Bikeability scheme. We expect to train 275,000 children during 2015/16.
- The government will consult on changes to improve cycle safety to ensure side guards are not removed from HGVs but remain permanently fitted.
- The Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) for learner motorcyclists will be strengthened and there will be a consultation on a range of further proposals to support safer motorcycling.
- A £2m in-depth research programme will be launched to identify the best possible driver education, training and behaviour-change interventions for learner and novice drivers.
- Motorists who endanger lives by using a hand held mobile phones while driving will face an increase from the current three penalty points to four, while the fixed penalty notice will rise from £100 to £150. For larger vehicles such as HGVs where the consequences of an accident can be much more severe, the penalty will increase from the current three points to six and the fixed penalty notice will rise from £100 to £150.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin (pictured) said: “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking to improve that record. We are delivering common sense proposals that balance tougher penalties for dangerous drivers with practical steps to help youngsters and other more vulnerable groups stay safe on our roads.”