More than half (55 per cent) of drivers have not read the Highway Code since passing their driving test, a new survey has revealed.
Two in five drivers over the age of 60 – many of whom have been behind the wheel for more than four decades – say they haven’t looked through the road user manual since getting their licence.
The majority of respondents among 2,000 drivers said they had passed the test more than 10 years ago, raising “major concerns for the country’s road safety”, comparison site Go Compare says.
The study comes just weeks after the RAC found that many drivers are ignoring some of the latest rules added to the Highway Code, including giving way to pedestrians at junctions.
More than half of drivers surveyed in a new study have not read the Highway Code since passing the test for the first time.
The survey found that male drivers are more likely to comply with road rules and regulations.
Since passing their driving test, 51 per cent of men say they have reviewed the Highway Code, compared to only 38 per cent of women who have reviewed the manual.
Although older drivers are more likely to have reacquainted themselves with the Highway Code, the breakdown of the figures does not allow us to be confident that everyone on the road knows the rules.
Drivers aged 60 and over are the most likely to have returned to the Highway Code since passing the test, with 60 per cent in this age group saying they have re-read the manual.
However, this leaves two in five older drivers on the roads probably not understanding the abundance of new rules since they first passed their test decades earlier.
Meanwhile, only 44 per cent of respondents aged 40 to 59 said they had caught up with the Highway Code since passing, as did just under a third (30 per cent) of car drivers. between 25 and 39 years old.
Three quarters of drivers between 18 and 24 years old have not read the Highway Code since passing the test.
In the last 10 years alone, since 2015, the Highway Code has been updated on 24 different occasions.
Several sections have been modified, changed or added in each revision.
And many of the most notable updates have come in recent years.
This graphic shows two of the main changes to the Highway Code in January 2022 involving motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
The road user hierarchy introduced in January 2022 is a protection pyramid scheme to keep the most vulnerable safe.
Have the changes to the Highway Code failed? A survey of drivers suggests they have done little to improve pedestrian safety, especially as more than three-quarters of motorists say they are unaware of one of the biggest changes introduced two years ago.
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New rules were introduced in March 2022 prohibiting even touching a mobile phone while driving, resulting in a fine of up to £1,000 and six penalty points.
Earlier that year, the Highway Code also introduced a new road user hierarchy scheme, which made drivers of larger vehicles more responsible for the safety of more vulnerable road users.
It also prompted changes to the rules about who has priority at crossings, with motorists expected to yield to pedestrians on the side of the road.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that one in five (18 per cent) of motorists believe this change has failed to improve safety for the most vulnerable road users.
This is largely because many simply do not know it or choose to ignore it.
Less than a quarter (23 per cent) of the 2,500 motorists surveyed by the RAC in January said they always give pedestrians priority at crossings since the rule change, while a similar proportion (19 per cent) admitted they did not. They stop very often, and 6 percent said they never yield to pedestrians in these scenarios.
This is Money conducted its own reader survey to see how many drivers would yield to a pedestrian waiting to cross the road at an intersection.
Of the 6,220 MailOnline readers who parked, 65 per cent said they do not yield to pedestrians in this scenario.
Recent updates to the Highway Code have also given cyclists more rights to ride in the middle of lanes and two abreast when in groups, to the frustration of many drivers.
Updates introduced in 2022 have already led to a sharp increase in the number of drivers receiving fixed penalty notices (FPNs).
Home Office figures analyzed by the AA earlier this month show the number of FPNs issued to drivers caught using a handheld device in 2022 increased by 93 per cent.
Some 37,900 FPNs were issued to drivers caught with their phones in 2022, up from 19,600 the previous year.
The same goes for FPNs issued to motorists for failing to yield to pedestrians.
Statistics from the Ministry of the Interior show that FPNs issued to motorists for “neglect of traffic signs and indications and pedestrian rights” increased from 78,900 in 2021 to 105,500 in 2022. That’s an increase of 33.8 percent.
The changes to the Highway Code introduced on January 29, 2022 encourage cyclists to ride in the middle of the road in some circumstances and, even if there is a bike lane, they will not be required to use it
GoCompare’s Tom Banks said: ‘The Highway Code is essential reading for all road users, not just students.
‘It is updated frequently to ensure drivers are aware of the latest changes to rules and regulations, so it is alarming to see that more than half have never visited again, putting themselves and others at risk.
‘Road users can easily keep up to date with the Highway Code through the official government website.
‘You can also sign up to receive email notifications when new changes are published, as well as follow the latest news on the Highway Code’s official social media channels.
‘Alternatively, motorists can read fully up-to-date versions of the Highway Code by purchasing a physical copy of the official book or by downloading the official app. The latter also includes interactive content, such as quizzes to test your knowledge.’
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