Pass Plus & Motorway Lessons
Rebecca passed her test ten months ago. She didn’t do Pass Plus or a motorway lesson but she has been driving consistently since she passed. She is confident in and around town and has had no need to drive on the motorway, so she barely has. A friend invites her to a weekend event 80 miles away. If she takes the train the whole journey will take three times as long and will cost three-and-a-half times as much as it would if she drove. If she drives she knows she’ll be able to handle herself when she gets in to the town where her friend lives, and the overall journey isn’t that long… but it involves using two motorways, and she has next to no motorway experience. What should she do?
Should she pay the extra, take the train and spend the whole journey wondering what the point of working so hard to get the licence in the first place was? Or should she take the risk and drive?
It would be difficult to advise her to drive.
- 20% of drivers are involved in a crash in their first six months on the road (5)
- an 18-year-old driver is more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash as a 48 year-old (6)
- two young people under 25 die every day in crashes in Great Britain*
Pass Plus is a driver training programme set up by the DSA in 2004 in response to road accident statistics, which showed that newly qualified drivers where far more likely to cause and/or be involved in road accidents than their experienced counterparts. The statistics suggested that both inexperience and youth were major causative factors in road accidents and fatalities. Between 1999 and 2002 a Pass Plus test scheme targeting 17-20 year-olds was conducted in Fife. The results showed a huge 27.5% reduction in crashes attributable to new drivers and an even greater 36.7% reduction in injuries sustained by them in driving incidents.
How It Works
The Pass Plus scheme is set up to deliver vital skills in key areas to newly qualified drivers:
- country roads
- at night
- in town
- dual carriageways
It works on a basis of six hours of tuition covering skills in the six areas listed. This usually takes the form of three two-hour, or two three-hour sessions. There is NO TEST at the end but your instructor will advise you throughout and assess you on conclusion of each of the six modules.
Discounts On Insurance
Participating insurance companies will offer discounts to drivers with Pass Plus certificates. Check for participation and the value of any available discounts on premiums before committing to an insurer (Note: some insurance companies operate a maximum discount policy that limits the amount of discount available to a policy applicant. If you are eligible for a discount for any other reason, they may not make a further reduction in their quotation. Always apply for your quotation without Pass Plus and then get a new quote with it to assess the direct financial benefit from an insurer).
If you have passed the driving test and don’t want to take the Pass Plus course, we – as do the DSA – strongly recommend that you consider a motorway lesson. Driving on UK motorways, while extremely useful, is also potentially very dangerous and not a skill assumed of a newly qualified driver. It remains an anomaly, then, that motorway driving cannot be practised until it is fully permitted. The ways, skills, customs, knacks, myths, dos and don’ts of motorway driving can usually be covered in a three hour session with plenty of time for practise. Your instructors aim will be to make sure you feel confident beginning your motorway-using life.
Pass Plus and motorway lessons cost £28/hour.
*Sources: DSA; DSA, The Schools Programme, (Driving Standards Agency, 2000); DSA, Learning to Drive: a consultation paper (2008); Night-time Accidents, (Centre for Transport Studies, University College London, 2005)