Warning over new rule drivers don't understand that could cost £2.5k and points

Motorists are being alerted to crucial alterations in the Highway Code that could lead to prosecution for simply making a turn into a road. Recent figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) have shown an uptick in pedestrian fatalities across the UK.

In 2023, there were 407 pedestrian deaths, a rise from 385 in 2022, marking an increase of six per cent. Vehicle leasing experts at Select Car Leasing are now urgently reminding drivers about the importance of adhering to road rules to ensure pedestrian safety.

Select Car Leasing highlights that the Highway Code underwent significant revisions in 2022 to enhance protection for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders. These amendments introduced a 'Hierarchy of road users', prioritising those most vulnerable.

READ: 1,042 motorists caught out by Stoke-on-Trent's new speed cameras The devices have gone up in Sneyd Green, Trent Vale, Baddeley Green and Hanley

READ: Stoke-on-Trent dubbed the 'ugliest city' in the country | Historian hits back at social media poll saying the Potteries has 'splendid buildings and architecture' - but concedes some parts are 'neglected'

A critical directive for both motorists and cyclists is to yield to pedestrians at junctions, whether they are already crossing or waiting to cross.

The managing director of Select Car Leasing, Mr Conway, emphasised: "If you're a motorist about to turn into a junction, and a pedestrian is either already crossing the road or is WAITING to cross, you need to give way and let them complete their journey. It's a crucial element of the Highway Code that is still misunderstood more than two years after it was implemented.

"Spend time online and you'll see some motorists complaining that pedestrian behaviours are getting worse and that they are prone to 'just walking into the road' without regard for their own safety. But this opinion could be coloured by the fact that some motorists still don't understand how pedestrians should be protected by the Highway Code."

If a motorist is guilty of attempting to turn into the path of a pedestrian, they could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention - which carries a fine up to £2,500 and between three and nine penalty points.

The Highway Code itself is clear. It states: "When people are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way. If people have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road, the people crossing have priority and the traffic should give way."

Mr Conway adds: "If you're a driver who ends up remonstrating with a pedestrian who is in the middle of a road that you're trying to turn into, chances are you're very much in the wrong and the pedestrian is behaving correctly. And it's crucial that motorists' attitudes towards pedestrians are aligned with the Highway Code if we're going to improve those dreadful fatality statistics."

The Highway Code has placed pedestrians at the top of the traffic hierarchy, and this extends to cyclists as well. Cyclists, just like car drivers, are expected to yield to pedestrians crossing the road.

The updated code specifies: "People driving, riding a motorcycle or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing and people walking and cycling on a parallel crossing. A parallel crossing is similar to a zebra crossing, but includes a cycle route alongside the black and white stripes."

Despite these changes, an RAC survey conducted at the start of 2024 indicates that many UK drivers are still not adhering to the new rules aimed at protecting pedestrians. The survey, which included 2,500 motorists, found that less than one in four (23 percent) always prioritise pedestrians at junctions, while 6 percent admitted they never yield to pedestrians in such situations.

Sign up to our main daily newsletter here and get all the latest news straight to your inbox for FREE