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As the law currently stands, the minimum age requirement to apply for a UK provisional licence is 15 years and 9 months. The provisional licence is issued and managed by the DVLA and is a requirement for those who want to learn to drive. However, learning to drive at a younger age can have many benefits, which is why many independent organisations have started offering off-road driving practice to the under 17s. The laws about driving under the legal age requirement can sometimes be blurred, so we’ve decided to break it down simply for you.
The Law About Off-Road Driving Practice
If you want to start learning to drive early, you can legally do so on private land, providing the site you are on is gated and remote from all public highways. If the land is connected to any form of public highway then it is illegal under the Road Traffic Act for any underage or unlicensed learners to drive there.
About Early Driving And Safety
Many off-road driving lessons state that their minimum age requirement is 14, though some do judge applicants on their height and whether or not they can reach the pedals. Of course, like any business sector in life, some of these driving schools are legit and others aren’t.
To ensure you are learning in a safe place, with all the correct legal requirements, you should question the driving school on the following:
- Are all instructors DSA Approved and can you provide proof of this?
- Is each instructor CRB checked?
- Have the cars been MOT tested?
- Is this site a gated area 24 hours a day?
PROS and CONS
Off-road driving practice is controversial, much like anything that slightly contradicts the law. It has many pros, and many cons. To help you come to your own conclusion, we’ve listed both sides of the argument below. Take a look:
You learn plenty of practical skills when you are growing up, so why not give your child a head start in learning to drive? Kids of a young age pick things up much easier than both young and elder adults can. Not only does it extend the learning time available to individuals, it also provides greater insight to road safety and therefore enforces awareness of everyday dangers. The child grows their independence and confidence, which can help with many other aspects of self-development too.
Conversely, there are dangers involved and for some young children, the responsibility of getting behind a wheel is far too large. It can put unnecessary pressure on the child, at a time when academic education should be the most important focus. Those aged 14 and under have less self-awareness, and therefore may not be fully developed enough to handle a vehicle. The law of the provisional licence and only being able to drive at the age of 17 is in place for a reason, and that’s because all factors have already been considered.
Would you let your youngster attend an off-road driving school? Use the comments section below to have your say!