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Motoring experts have suggested that the recent changes made to the Highway Code could lead to the improvement of road safety. Several new driving laws have been introduced this year that could affect motorists this autumn. Drivers should always remain up to date with the current rules as failure to observe them could result in fines and penalty points.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Tom Hixon, Head of Instructor Support at Bill Plant Driving School, said: “It can be difficult to determine the impacts of the law changes, however, the introduced changes were mainly centred around improving road safety and emission quantities.
“Therefore, we do hope that this improvement will be seen in this year’s statistics. One of the main changes to the highway code introduced this year was the hierarchy of road users.
“This saw users including cyclists and pedestrians receive right of way on the road. The goal of this change was to place the responsibility of road safety on those who have the most power to put others at risk – aka motorists.
“Despite disputes about this change, it is raising awareness surrounding the dangers of road use.”
Another big change that has been implemented throughout the year involves Low-emission zones. As these zones become more common around the country, drivers need to check that they have taken all the necessary steps to avoid a fine if they are entering one.
Motorists should check that their vehicle meets the emission standards of these zones, or that they have paid the low-emissions fee before entering.
If drivers don’t pay the fee they could be risking a fine of up to £500. Bradford low emission zone started charging from September 26. Bristol, Newcastle and Gateshead will begin charging later this year.
Mr Hixon said that these newly introduced zones could eventually lead to “greener” motoring. He explained: “We have seen the introduction of more low-emission zones across the country – these are a great stepping zone in the move toward cleaner air.
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“Despite this law affecting mainly HGV drivers, the introduction will hopefully see a move towards greener vehicles in the future.” Other changes that have been introduced recently involve speed limits.
The Metropolitan Police have dropped their speed limit tolerance threshold by one mile per hour. Drivers will now face prosecution if they break the limit by 10 percent plus 2mph.
The tolerance limit was previously 10 percent plus 3mph, according to the RAC. The Met had not directly announced any rule changes to speed tolerance before they came into force.
As a result of the law change, the number of fines given to speeding motorists has spiked by a reported 259 percent. An estimated 347,000 drivers were warned that they would be prosecuted for speeding in the first six months of 2022.
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Some drivers have also hot out at the rules saying that cyclists shouldn’t have priority on roads. According to a new survey, the changes made to the Highway Code earlier this year are unpopular with many motorists.
Almost 80 percent of motorists disagree with the change that allows cyclists to pass slower-moving or stationary traffic on the right or left, including at the approach to junctions.
Cyclists are advised they should proceed with caution, especially when deciding whether it is “safe” to pass lorries or other large vehicles. Venson Automotive Solutions, who conducted the survey, has raised concerns about the number of road users who have revealed they don’t have everyone’s safety in mind.
In the Highway Code update, cyclists received fresh guidance to ride in the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions in order to make themselves as clearly visible as possible.
They were also reminded that they can ride two abreast, as has always been the case and which can be safer in large groups or with children. However, they must be aware of other motorists behind them and allow them to overtake if it is safe to do so.
Alison Bell, Operations Director for Venson Automotive Solutions commented on the data, saying: “The Highway Code changes have been in place a while now but there was a lot of information for drivers to take onboard.
“It is important to remember that we are all vulnerable on the roads. When out of the car, all drivers are pedestrians themselves, and might ride a bike or horse too.
“Whether you agree with the Highway Code or not, we should all remember that it is aimed at protecting all road users and it is our shared responsibility as road users to understand road rules with the aim of reducing serious and fatal injuries.”
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