February 9, 2022
From 29th January 2022, changes to The Highway Code were made in order to enhance safety for all road users. All of the new updates are advisory, so non-compliance will not result in fine other than the ones where a fine is stated.
Let’s explore the new Highway Code regulations.
2022 Changes to The Highway Code
The Hierarchy of Road Users
A hierarchy of road users has been created to ensure all road users are safe, especially those most at risk. This hierarchy starts with HGV drivers being more liable than minibus drivers, who are therefore more liable than passenger car drivers, etc.
Cyclists and pedestrians are the most vulnerable which has resulted in some advisory updates:
- Drivers no longer have priority at junctions
- All traffic must stop for pedestrians waiting to cross
- Cyclists can ride wherever they feel safest, including the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions so they are as clearly visible as possible
- Drivers must wait for cyclists to pass, treat as if motor vehicle
This hierarchy will encourage quicker or heavier modes of travel to hold the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.
‘Dutch Reach’ Recommendation
All motorists will be encouraged to adopt the ‘Dutch Reach’ when leaving the vehicle. This is where you open the door next to you with the opposite hand so you look over your shoulder before leaving the vehicle. Therefore, you will be aware of any passing cyclists and pedestrians and will avoid any injury.
Uses of Mobile Phones Banned
Although the use of mobile phones for calling and texting has been banned since December 2003, the 2022 update prohibits the use of handheld devices for anything, except in an emergency. You are now banned from taking videos or pictures, scrolling through playlists or social media feeds, playing games, etc.
If you are using your device to make hands-free calls, toll payments or for satellite navigation, they need to be securely fixed and untouched – even if the vehicle isn’t moving. Motorists face a fine of £200 and 6 penalty points if caught and newly qualified drivers will see their licences revoked; if the case goes to court, you will be fined a maximum of £1000 and disqualified for driving for a period of time.
Why Are These Changes Being Made?
These changes to The Highway Code have been made to improve the safety of those most at risk on our roads. It is also to ensure that The Highway Code keeps up to date with the way people get around and changes to transport infrastructure. Nowadays, more people are taking up cycling and walking which needs to be addressed to ensure they are safe on the roads.
The Future of Road Safety
More people are travelling on bicycle or on foot due to a more sustainable outlook and a desire to help save the planet where they can, decreasing emissions and congestion. In turn, these safety changes will help reduce road traffic collisions with the most vulnerable road users.
The updated digital version of The Highway Code is now available and the updated printed version will be available in April 2022. At Cross Country Carriers, we recognise the importance of these changes to The Highway Code and always do our upmost to ensure our drivers stay safe on the roads.
As they are now top of the hierarchy, we will endeavour that road safety is their top priority alongside customer service and efficiency. Contact to find out more about our team and what we can do for you today.