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Majority of drivers in the UK haven't reviewed the Highway Code since passing their driving test

By Mathilda Bartholomew | February 19, 2024

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Majority of drivers in the UK haven't reviewed the Highway Code since passing their driving test

A recent study reveals that a significant 55 percent of UK drivers acknowledge not checking the Highway Code since passing their driving test. The research, conducted by GoCompare, highlights a concerning trend, especially as 83 percent of surveyed drivers passed their test over a decade ago.

The issue is compounded by the fact that the Highway Code has undergone 24 updates since 2015, with multiple changes in individual sections on each occasion. Notably, in 2022, regulations on mobile phone use were tightened, making it illegal to even touch the phone while driving. This marked a shift from the 2003 regulations, which only deemed using the phone while driving as an offense, resulting in a £1,000 fine and six penalty points for touching the phone while driving.

Furthermore, the hierarchy of road users was adjusted in 2022, placing explicit responsibility on car and van drivers to ensure the safety of more vulnerable road users like cyclists, horse riders, and pedestrians.

The study indicates a disparity in awareness, with 51 percent of male drivers checking the Highway Code compared to 38 percent of women. Age also plays a role, as 60 percent of drivers over 60 regularly review the Code, in contrast to 30 percent of those aged 25 to 39, and a significant 75 percent of those aged 18 to 24 who have not revisited the Code since passing their test.

Tom Banks, a car insurance expert at GoCompare, expressed concern about the alarming number of drivers who have not revisited the Code, emphasising that it is regularly updated to reflect changes in rules and regulations.

“The Highway Code is essential reading for all road users, not just learners,”

"It’s frequently updated to ensure that drivers remain aware of the latest changes in rules and regulations, so it’s alarming to see that more than half have never revisited it, putting themselves and others at risk.”

Banks suggests various ways to stay updated, including the official government website, which allows users to receive email notifications for new changes and provides updates on social media channels. 

Despite the concerning findings, official Department for Transport figures indicate a general downward trend in the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in Britain since 2013. While the study raises awareness about the importance of revisiting the Highway Code, overall casualty figures have shown a decline, reaching 29,429 KSIs in the year ending June 2023, a one percent decrease compared to the previous year.

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