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Changes to Highway Code bring major safety updates for drivers

Motorists including seasoned fleet drivers are being advised to check the Highway Code on the back of a raft of major updates.

Smart motorways

The changes bring a large number of amendments to the Highway Code, including new rules to help make smart motorways safer

The changes, introduced following a consultation by National Highways and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), bring a large number of amendments, including new rules to help make smart motorways safer.

The updates include clearer advice on where to stop in an emergency, the importance of not driving in a Red X lane and how variable speed limits are used; and have been brought in as part of the Government’s 18-point Action Plan to redress safety issues with smart motorways.

There is also updated guidance on key factors that contribute to safety-related incidents, including driving while tired, unroadworthy vehicles, safe towing, tailgating and driving in roadworks.

A key update of interest to fleets is the change to Rule 91 to ensure readers understand that  drivers need to get sufficient sleep before a long journey, and ensuring fitness to drive and the need to take sufficient breaks.

In total, 33 existing rules in the Highway Code have been amended and two new rules introduced.

The updates, in particular the clearer guidance on smart motorways, have been welcomed by the AA. President Edmund King said: “This new advice will help new and seasoned drivers alike. It covers many of the safety issues we have campaigned on, such as the dangers of driving tired, importance of observing the Red X and the menace of tailgating.

“Most importantly it gives great guidance on how to keep drivers and others safe on our roads.”

Drivers – new and existing – are being urged to check out the latest changes and stay up to date with the Highway Code – in particular as further changes are also due imminently. New proposals – announced earlier this year and still going through Parliament – will also look to introduce a hierarchy of road users with pedestrians at the top. This will be done by clearly setting priorities at crossings and junctions. Changes are expected to be introduced in December.

DVSA chief executive Loveday Ryder commented: “As further changes to the Highway Code are proposed in the coming months, we are advising everyone to check digital versions of the Code. With online access and a handy app, it’s easier than ever to keep up with the rules of the road.

“Making sure everyone keeps their knowledge up to date helps Great Britain’s roads stay among the safest in the world.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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