A fair number of road users in the UK are in danger of possibly breaking new rules in the Highway Code which came into force on 29 January 2022. The widespread change includes introduction of a hierarchy of road users, where burden of responsibility for the safety of others are based on the type of vehicles which can cause greatest harm in the event of an accident.
This effectively means that drivers of large trucks, for example, will need to exercise the most caution when around cars, whose driver will similarly need to be responsible for the safety of motorcyclists around him/her. Similarly, a new section in the code states that other traffic must give way to pedestrians waiting at a junction.
One in five is unaware of the change
A study commissioned by UK’s IAM Roadsmart revealed that 20 per cent of the motorists surveyed were unaware of such changes to the Highway Code. This represents over seven million out of the 35.9 million drivers in the country.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, commented, “An alarming number of motorists are driving on Britain’s roads without awareness of key changes which fundamentally shift the dynamics of shared use. This is a serious safety risk which could actually see the updated code causing more conflict on our roads rather than less.”
Neil adds that IAM Roadsmart had already warned the government that a substantial education campaign is needed to properly disseminate the new rules and get it adopted by everyone.
The drivers are listening
Another research by IAM Roadsmart in 2021 shows that there is cause to be positive over the effectiveness of proper messaging. It seems that over the past six years, speeding has become less acceptable by motorists – 42 per cent of the 2,000 people surveyed thought it was acceptable to drive at 80mph (129kph) on the highway, compared to 56 per cent six years ago. Furthermore, 21 per cent still thinks that driving faster than 129kph is fine, although the number used to be higher (28%) back in 2016.