Changes to the Highway Code

We have recently had updates from insurers following the changes to the Highway Code earlier this year. These changes included how we better protect vulnerable road users and further restrictions on the use of devices when driving a vehicle.

Insurers have been researching road use and driver behaviour and have found that post-pandemic, with a number of people still working from home, our roads have become quieter. This has actually resulted in road users driving quicker, which is a cause for concern. Also, the home delivery boom that started during the lockdown has not abated, so we are seeing more delivery vans and frequently stopping vehicles on our roads.

What are the Changes to The Highway Code? 
Read the rules in full here. 
The new rules include a revised hierarchy of road users to afford greater protection to vulnerable road users. Updates to overtaking guidance and advice on how to exit the vehicle to avoid causing injury, the ‘dutch reach’.

The Government has also announced new rules in regard to using mobile devices when driving. Did you know that in recent research by Transport for London it was found that an undistracted driver usually responds within one second to a hazard, a drunk driver’s reactions are slowed by 12 times, but a driver using a touchscreen device such as Apple Play has their reactions slowed by 53%. The Government has therefore brought in new restrictions when using mobile devices behind the wheel. You can read the rules in full here. 

This is the list of mobile phone uses that now fall foul of the law:

  • Illuminating the screen
  • Checking the time
  • Checking notifications
  • Unlocking the device
  • Making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet-based call
  • Sending, receiving or uploading oral or written content
  • Sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video
  • Utilising the camera, video, or sound recording
  • Drafting any text
  • Accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages
  • Accessing an app
  • Accessing the internet
Updated Penalties following Changes to the Highway Code: 
The Government has also updated the penalities a driver can face, which can now include life imprisonment. They have also introduced a new penalty ‘causing injury by careless driving’.

The penalty for using a mobile phone at the wheel remains unchanged, so drivers can expect a £200 fine and six penalty points on their licence. This could lead to a driver being banned if they’re caught twice within a three-year period, or if they’ve held their license for less than two years.

Remind Yourself of the Changes to the Highway Code: 
Insurers are advising that you take some time to remind yourself and any drivers on your team of the new laws and make sure they are aware of your documented policies and procedures with regard to:

  • Vulnerable road users
  • Safety equipment
  • What to do if an accident occurs
  • Relevant Risk Assessments.
As always if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team at Stanmore.