- The Highway Code celebrates its 95th anniversary this April
- 56% of motorists surveyed have not refreshed their memory or checked out updates of the Highway Code since first passing their test
- 51% surveyed could not identify a ‘Zebra crossing ahead’ sign
- 35% surveyed did not recognise a ‘T-junction with priority over vehicles from the right’
- 22% surveyed could not correctly identify the ‘Give way to oncoming traffic’ sign
Venson Automotive Solutions is marking the Highway Code’s 95th anniversary this April with a new survey, which worryingly reveals that more than half of drivers (56%) have not refreshed their memory or checked out updates to the code since first passing their testi. Whilst the code is not a legal document, those who drive for leisure or business and do not keep up to date with its changes put other road users at risk.
The Highway Code was last updated in January 2022 including eight new rules and 49 updates to existing rules. The new rules and clarifications were specifically introduced to place a greater focus on the safety of more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. Ominously, the majority of drivers (51%) quizzed by Venson on road sign meanings, did not recognise a ‘Zebra crossing ahead’ sign. Almost one in four (22%) of drivers who could not correctly identify the ‘Give way to oncoming traffic’ signi.
“When the Highway Code launched in 1931 there were 2.3 million cars on the roads. Today there are approximately 32.5 million,” commented Alison Bell, Operations Director for Venson Automotive Solutions. “The most recent data available reports there are approximately 126,247 road accidents in Great Britain a year, which works out as almost 346 each dayii. The Highway Code offers vital guidance for safer road use, with the aim of reducing the number of accidents and fatalities on UK roads. All road users need to understand their responsibilities to other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and animals and what to expect from others in all circumstances. A simple misunderstanding at a junction or on a motorway could be fatal.”
The rules are updated regularly to reflect changing use by private and business users. There are five to six million grey fleet and company owned vehicle drivers in the UK, with grey fleet drivers accounting for 30% of all road accidentsiii. Businesses running fleets – whether company owned vehicles or grey fleets – should ensure their drivers are familiar with the latest version of the guidance and rules.
Alison Bell continued: “Businesses and drivers have a Duty of Care to themselves, other road users and pedestrians. A failure to understand and remember the rules and correctly implement them could result in financial penalties, law breaking or worse, causing an avoidable collision. Businesses operating a fleet of vehicles should have a process in place to help drivers keep their Highway Code knowledge fresh and up to date, brushing up on existing rules and understanding changes.”
iIndependent survey by Maru Hub, commissioned by Venson Automotive Solutions, of three hundred motorists, April 2023