11 JUNE 2021
- 72% think Highway Code needs more on smart motorways
- 6 in 10 want update to EV advice
- 90th anniversary of Highway Code this year
- AA Driving School wants Highway Code review expansion
Nearly three quarters of drivers (72%) think the Highway Code should be updated with more information on smart motorways, according to research by the AA Driving School1.
Drivers were asked what changes they think should be made to the Highway Code this year as it marks its 90th anniversary2.
Drivers from the South East of England (76%) were the keenest to see more advice on smart motorways this year, perhaps wary of the smart motorway sections of the M20 and M23.
Six in 10 drivers (62%) said they wanted to see more information on electric vehicles, including charging infrastructure and road sign meanings. Currently there is no official section with guidance on electric vehicles, despite the government’s push for drivers to buy more eco-friendly vehicles.
A further 60% said they wanted the Highway Code to include more guidance on behaving around vulnerable road users like electric scooters and cyclists.
The latest government figures3 show the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on Great Britain’s roads has increased by 8% since 2009. In 2019, cyclists accounted for 14% of casualties and 6% of road deaths in Great Britain.
Drivers in 1931 wouldn’t believe the ways in which road safety and technology has developed over the last 90 years
The Highway Code was introduced in Great Britain in 1931 when there were only 2.3 million vehicles on roads, but more than 7,000 people died in road accidents each year2.
According to the DVSA2, the first edition of the Highway Code did not mention the use of mirrors and it advised drivers to sound their horn when overtaking.
The Highway Code is currently undergoing a review to improve road safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders4. Last summer, the AA submitted evidence to the review and broadly supported the government’s proposals, but shared concerns around the lack of clarity and guidance on some of the proposals.
In March, the AA also submitted evidence to a separate review into plans to include guidance on smart motorways5, one year after the government was first advised to do so by the Transport Secretary.
Robert Cowell, Interim Managing Director of AA Driving School said: “Our research shows drivers want the Highway Code to be brought into the 21st century to keep up with the growing demand for electric vehicles, and concerns about education on smart motorways.
“Drivers in 1931 wouldn’t believe the ways in which road safety and technology has developed over the last 90 years.
“We hope that with this milestone anniversary the Highway Code will keep up with the times and keep drivers safe and informed of the latest developments. If we want drivers to choose electric vehicles or feel safe around electric scooters, we need the Highway Code to guide them from the outset.”
Read the AA’s beginners guide to the Highway Code HERE
Smart motorways were first introduced in England in 2006 as a method to manage traffic flow. Read more about them HERE
Visit theaa.com/driving-school to find out about lessons or how to become a driving instructor.
The AA publishes books on the Highway Code and driving test advice for learners every year, search online for the latest editions.
1Yonder survey Yonder survey of 14,044 AA members between 10th and 18th May 2021. Yonder is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more details, please go to www.yonderconsulting.com
2History of road safety and the driving test
3Reported road casualties Great Britain, annual report: 2019. Published September 2020.
4Government consultation - Review of the Highway Code to improve road safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders
5Government consultation - Review of the Highway Code to improve safety on motorways and high speed roads