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Drivers expecting to pay to drive on roads in future

According to a recent survey carried out by the RAC around fifty per cent of motorists believe that in the next twenty five years they will be expected to pay tolls if they choose to drive in certain places such as large cities. Furthermore, fifty per cent also believed that they would have to pay to drive on motorways in the future; however the surprising thing about this report is that many are actually open to the idea as it will give them more control when it comes to how they use their vehicle and its running costs. Continue reading

Government debating changing rules for Learner Drivers

The government is debating changing the amount of time drivers must practice before being allowed to take their driving test, as well as introducing different types of driving they must be proficient in before they are allowed on the road on their own. Young drivers are known to cause more accidents, which is why many bodies are calling for the amount and types of training students receive to be increased.

This spring a Green Paper will be published suggesting that learner drivers should be taught how to drive on motorways, adverse weather conditions, and in the dark before being allowed to take their test. The paper will also suggest that testing should become more rigorous and that there should be better incentives for young drivers to take up additional training after they first pass their test. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “It is alarming that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured on our road in 2011 were involved in a collision where at least one driver was aged 17-24.”

“Improving the safety of our young drivers is therefore a real priority and will not only reduce casualties but should also mean a reduction in the sky-high insurance premiums they pay.” However, Neil Greg, Director of Policy and Research for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “It makes no sense that the current system abandons new drivers after the test to learn by their often fatal mistakes, but any new approach must be based on saving lives and not reducing insurance premiums warns the IAM.”

“The IAM support post test help for new drivers but we are worried that curfews and restrictions will merely restrict their ability to gain the real world knowledge that will save their lives.” Regardless of whether motor insurance quotes will decrease for young drivers if they are required more training before they take their tests, the extra skills they will learn will help them stay safe on the road. Furthermore, it will teach them skills that at the moment most new drivers don’t have, such as driving on the motorway, which could lead to safer roads for all drivers.

Government plans to Support more Private Roads

It is expected for the Prime Minister, David Cameron to announce today his plans to increase investments in privatised roads and motorways across the UK. The plan is being considered as a way to cut down on traffic across the country, as those who wish to use motorways or ‘fast track’ lanes will have to pay at toll booths in order to gain access. However, there have been worries that this will cause a ‘two-tier’ system for motorists and could even lead to more accidents on the road.

The plan is for private firms to operate and build new highways that could install pay-as-you-go fast lanes, or toll booths for motorways. Another proposal is that users of the new highways would pay a higher rate of road tax to cover the costs, and those that use the older B-roads or single lane A-roads would see a cut in duty. A source from the government has said that they are planning on investing in new highways as “Speeding up the transport network will cut costs and save time for business in the long term.”

However, there have been concerns over the new plans, with the AA saying that having more private roads will lead to a ‘first class and second class’ road system, and that the increase in traffic diversions could lead to more accidents on the road. It is a worry that the only members of the public that will benefit from new privatised highways are those with enough money to pay for the tolls, whilst those in the lower earning brackets will be left to fend for themselves.

The knock-on effects of this proposal has also not been fully discussed by the government, for instance car insurance companies may be inclined to change their policies depending on whether drivers plan to use the new privatised roads. Also there needs to be considerations as to how safe these new ‘fast track’ lanes will be, and how the government will fund maintenance to roads that are not owned by companies.

L plates on motorways divides opinions

There are fears that more accidents will inevitably happen on the motorways of the United Kingdom if learner drivers are to be allowed to drive on them. At the moment it is illegal to get behind the wheel on motorways until passing the driving test but Roads Minister Mike Penning plans to change the law by the summer.

Statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT) and car insurance brokers prove that motorways are the safest roads and that is partly why the majority of driving instructors are supportive of the upcoming change. The DIA (Driving Instructors Association) feel that all new drivers need to be encouraged to use the bigger roads more. However, those opposed to the change such as The RHA (Road Haulage Association) say no-one should be allowed to drive on them until after they have passed their test. Some even think that new drivers should stay off the motorway for at least six months to make sure they have enough experience behind the wheel. However, Mr Penning has confirmed that there will be no conditions like that imposed.

Roads Minister Mike Penning said: “Many new drivers are terrified of motorway driving because they do not have the skills or confidence needed. If we can show insurers someone has got skills of their own accord, I would expect them to drop their premiums proportionately and that is what I will be telling them. I hope that the extra training also brings down the high cost of insurance premiums for those new drivers.”

There are also no plans to make learning to drive on motorways compulsory, as learners from rural areas would have to travel a long way for the training. The change would apply across England, Wales and Scotland while the Northern Ireland Assembly are considering it and will announce their final decision shortly.