3 New Road Laws after Highway Code Changes

A new “Hierarchy of Road Users” is set to be introduced following proposed changes to the Highway Code. These proposed changes aim to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists that use Britain’s roads.

Those driving larger vehicles will have the most responsibility for safety followed by cars and taxis. This points to an even greater need for vehicle safety solutions for the commercial vehicles sector.

The Changes

The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued a consultation document seeking views on the proposals, which are designed to improve road safety for vulnerable road users. It’s not a full-scale revision of the Highway Code. Instead, the changes focus on three main areas:

  • Introducing a ‘hierarchy of road users’ that ensures those road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.
  • Clarifying existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements and that drivers and riders should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road.
  • Establishing guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists or horse riders, and ensuring that they have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.

The consultation period will run until midnight on 27 October 2020.

Commercial Vehicles – How will these change impact the industry?

The hierarchy of road users will mean larger vehicles on the road have responsibility to reduce the danger and threat they may pose to others. Installing vehicle safety solutions is one extremely effective way to do this.

Both passive and active systems are available to ensure a driver can see or be alerted to vulnerable road users that are waiting by their vehicle. The driver would then be warned and given enough time to evade a collision before it happens.

Where drivers should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road and where drivers must establish safe passing distances, driver training will need to be conducted by those who own fleets.

Future Legislative Changes

Although these changes to the Highway Code are proposals, those driving in Greater London should be aware of the London Direct Vision Standard. From October 2020 all vehicles over 12 tonnes will require a permit to drive into Greater London. The silver lining here is that by fulfilling requirements for a Direct Vision Standard permit, you will also be showing responsibility to reduce the threat and danger of your heavy goods vehicle should the Highway Code change.

Need Help?

If you would like to learn more about improving your fleets safety, speak to one our vehicle safety specialists today.