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November 17, 2020

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Road safety

Proposed new Highway Code could ‘potentially reduce’ road safety

UK drivers and motorcyclists are unconvinced by proposed changes to the Highway Code, according to a survey conducted by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart.driving

A survey, conducted by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart polling 3,600 web poll respondents, has revealed that the majority of road users are opposed to the Department for Transport’s proposed changes to the Highway Code.

Respondesnt suggest that the changes, which have been designed to improve road safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, could instead increase conflict and potentially reduce the safety of the vulnerable road users they are intended to protect.

71% of drivers and motorcyclists said that the new proposal to give pedestrians priority when turning into and out of junctions, for example, will increase conflict rather than reducing it, with more than half (57%) thinking this will be a significant issue.

It was also suggested, by 71% of respondents, that drivers and riders should give motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders, horse drawn vehicles and pedestrians walking in the road at least as much room as they would when overtaking a car.

On the new Code’s most controversial suggestions – to establish a hierarchy of road users, where those in charge of the vehicles that can cause the greatest harm should bear the greatest responsibility to take care – the majority (56%) agree that this is the right way forward, but 26% are against and almost one in five (19%) are still to be convinced either way.

Neil Greig, Policy and Research Director at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Regardless of what changes are introduced, it is clear there will be a need for a huge education campaign to ensure any amendments to the Highway Code are understood and fully adopted by the millions of existing UK drivers, motorcyclists and road users. At IAM RoadSmart we believe an online resource to help with this re-education in an engaging way would be helpful.

“The simple truth is that most of us don’t read the Highway Code unless we drive or ride professionally, or are about to take a test. The Department for Transport needs to be realistic about the impact simply changing a seldom read document will have on the behaviour and safety of road users.”

Click here for further results from this survey.

Driver safety webinars

Be Part of SHP Webinar WednesdaysHear IAM RoadSmart CEO Tony Greenidge speak on a panel debate, ‘Understanding and influencing drivers’ attitudes and behaviour to reduce risk sponsored’, part of SHP’s Webinar Wednesday series at, which takes place at 14:00 on Wednesday 25 November.

Prior to that, at 11:00 Wednesday 25 November, learn about ‘Managing work-related road risks: responsibilities, policies & mistakes’.

Click here to sign up for either of these sessions, or view the rest of the Webinar Wednesday programme.

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