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Learning to drive in car parks with family members to be banned

Novice drivers, accompanied by their parents, face being banned from learning to drive in supermarket car parks up and down the country. Supermarket scrooges have forced through new rules to give learners drivers ‘proper’ access to car parks, but only if a qualified instructor is supervising them. What’s going on?

Parents teaching their kids to drive is a pastime, which cuts the cost of learning to drive for rookies looking to land their driving licence. However, parents face being barred from helping their kids practice their parking in supermarket car parks, because of fears over damage to other cars and restrictions on space.

Now, the Driving Instructors Association (DIA) and the British Parking Association (BPA) will be forced to list car parks that instructors can use, without fear of being chased out or given a parking ticket. The list is set to be finalised in the New Year.

Since the announcement of the new driving test - rolled out across England, Scotland and Wales on 4 December - learning to drive in supermarket car parks has become more common because the new look practical exam has made driving into parking bays a key part of the test.

Learning to drive in car parks to be certified

However, supermarket car park operators claim that increasing incidents of damage to vehicles and limited spaces, means that new rules need to be put in place for proper access to car parks. Operators will certify up to 20,000 car parks as suitable for learners allowing them to practice parking, with qualified instructors only, in dual-control cars.

Operators are hoping that the new rules will encourage the responsible use of car parks, reducing the risk of damage. Unfortunately, it means that rookie motorists learning to drive under the tutelage of their parents, will be barred from many privately operated car parks.

There has been an increase in the number of incidents involving learner drivers being ‘chased out’ of car parks by angry operators incensed by the amount of time novice motorists spend hogging parking bays.

Chief executive of the DIA, Carly Brookfield, said: “It’s crucial that operators lift their barriers to learners because it means that they are more likely to be safe car park users in the future.”

Learning to drive with family and friends ‘causing problems in car parks

Meanwhile, owner of the Shamrock Driving School in Wiltshire, Gary Fossey, said: “The biggest problem is when people go out and practice with friends and family. Driving instructors will be in and out of car parks in a few minutes, but people out with parents aren’t going to be as aware and may well overstay their welcome.”

“It’s likely that shoppers will complain if they’re forced to wait for five minutes while a learner driving is faffing around trying to get in or out of a space, and that’s not good for a supermarket’s image,” Mr Fossey added.

The BPA stated that that supermarket car park operators who signed up to the deal would provide a list of suitable locations for instructors.

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