Highway Code changes could lead to 'mandatory refresher courses'

The official Highway Code book (PA)
When did you last read this? -Credit:PA

Highway Code changes could lead to 'mandatory refresher courses' with many drivers still unaware of rules. An expert has called for greater awareness of Highway Code rules with public campaigns to make roads safer and ensure drivers are aware of road rules.

Major Highway Code changes were launched in 2022 to make roads safer with the largest vehicles, like lorries, HGVs and buses have the most responsibility to keep others safe. The so-called "hierarchy of road users" places the most vulnerable groups at the bottom of the pyramid namely pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Other rules included giving priority to people crossing or waiting at junctions, meaning other traffic should give way so they can cross safely. It also gave additional provisions to cyclists, allowing them to ride in the centre of their lane on quieter roads, in slow-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings.

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John Kushnick, Legal Operations Director at National Accident Helpline, commented on the changes and how more needs to be done to ensure roads are safe.

Speaking to GB News, he said: "Regular reviews and updates to the Highway Code ensures that it remains relevant and responsive to evolving road conditions and user behaviours. Road safety is paramount so if there is a need for updates to enhance it, then these should be updated.

"However, more needs to be done to ensure these changes, or new rules, are effectively communicated and understood by all drivers and road users."

He suggested that this should involve addressing the lack of awareness shown by drivers about recent Highway Code changes. Data from the RAC found that 51 per cent of drivers were unsure of the changes and whether they have actually made a difference to road safety.

One-third of drivers also said pedestrians were facing even greater danger at junctions since the measures were introduced. Mr Kushnick said more needs to be done by the Government and road safety organisations to ensure that drivers are aware of the important guidance to make motoring safer.

He added: "Perhaps a targeted awareness campaign or mandatory refresher courses could help bridge this gap in knowledge. Also, technological solutions, such as mobile apps or digital platforms, could be used to disseminate information more efficiently."