St Albans teen first learner to legally drive on motorway without full licence

Finbar and Edmund King.

Finbar and Edmund King. - Credit: Archant

A St Albans teenager has become the first learner driver to take advantage of new laws allowing him to practice on the motorway.

Finbar driving at 00:01.

Finbar driving at 00:01. - Credit: Archant

Finbar King, 17, from Jennings Road, took to the M25 with his dad and instructor Mark Harrison just after midnight, when new laws allowed drivers without a full licence to do so, as long as they are with an instructor in a dual-control car.

He said: “I actually quite enjoyed it and felt safe having Mark instructing me. It is different due to more lanes of traffic and indeed there were lots of lorries. A motorbike cut in pretty close, but I saw it and braked.

“It seems silly you could pass your test and then five minutes later drive on a motorway alone without ever having been taught to do it safely. I also know many new drivers avoid motorways but per mile travelled they are our safest roads.

“The main worry is the lack of lay-bys when there is no hard-shoulder on the ‘smart motorways’ in case you break down. I would like to see more lay-bys.

Finbar and Mark Harrison.

Finbar and Mark Harrison. - Credit: Archant

“I also know that some left-hand drive lorries can sometimes just pull out as they have a blind spot so I try to give them more room.”

The government has made the change in the hope it will improve road safety and reduce the number of young drivers killed in road accidents.

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Finbar’s dad, Edmund, who is the President of the AA, said: “In St Albans, we are surrounded by motorways: the M1, A1M, M25 and the M40 is not too far away.

“So for people who learn to drive in St Albans, it is not like being in Norfolk or Cornwall, where you might not come across a motorway. On most journeys over 25 miles you will come across a motorway, so I think it’s more important for drivers to learn.”

Finbar driving on the motorway.

Finbar driving on the motorway. - Credit: Archant

According to the AA, over half of drivers (54 per cent) said they would have liked the chance to take a lesson on the motorway before their test and a third said they think this would have made them a safer driver.

The AA Charitable Foundation Trust has made £20k-worth of lessons available to new drivers who did not learn how to drive on the motorway.

Mr King said: “We are going to do our bit to help educate some new drivers as well.”

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