Drivers Don’t Know New Highway Code

Mon 11th Apr 2022

Are you one of the 20 per cent of British motorists unaware that a raft of new rules were introduced on our roads in January?

There were 50 new or adapted rules added to the Highway Code on 29 January, but a survey from road safety charity IAM Roadsmart has found that there is still a general ignorance about the changes.

After polling some 1,000 motorists in late January, IAM Roadsmart found that one in five motorists were completed oblivious to any changes, including the ‘hierarchy of road users’, one of the most significant shake-ups of how we use our roads in 50 years.

“An alarming number of motorists are driving on Britain's roads without awareness of key changes which fundamentally shift the dynamics of shared use,” said Neil Greig, Director of policy and research at IAM Roadsmart.

“This is a serious safety risk which could actually see the updated code causing more conflict on our roads rather than less.”

The new rules of road give much more prominence to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, which is a major concern if some 7m motorists are not aware of the new priorities. Perhaps more worrying is that of those polled, more than half don’t ever remember reading the Highway Code.

The charity believes that much more needs to be done to make everyone aware of the new changes.

Grieg said: “Before the roll out of the new Highway Code changes, we warned that a huge education campaign would be required to ensure the amendments are disseminated and fully adopted by the millions of existing drivers, motorcyclists and road users.

“Unfortunately, our survey shows that the government education campaign did not effectively communicate the changes, or perhaps even reach the eyes and ears of drivers in the first place.

“In future, we would urge the Department for Transport to be more realistic about the impact that simply changing a seldom read document will have on the behaviour and safety of road users.”