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The Highway Code Could Change Once Again This Year

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The Highway Code Could Change Once Again This Year

While people are getting their heads around the new Highway Code rules which have been widely criticised, there could be more coming in to force.

The current changes focus on pedestrians and cyclists but now, ministers are planning for more alterations.

According to the Mirror, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wants Britain to be first off the grid to get autonomous vehicles on the roads.

The new rules would allow those in driverless cars to take their hands off the wheel in traffic jams so their cars can nudge ­forward automatically.

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It's believed that they will be able to do this when ALKS – Automated Lane Keeping Systems – are introduced which is expected to be later this year.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Not everyone is on board with more possible changes though and many think the constant changing of the rules will cause more confusion than anything else.

Shadow roads minister Gill Furniss told the Mirror: “This shambolic government are so mired in scandal they can’t even get the basics right. They haven’t even bothered to publicise the last set of major changes to rules on the road before they announce the next set.”

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Simon Williams of the RAC said: “It’s vital the changes are crystal clear, otherwise there’s a very real risk drivers will be confused. This could lead to avoidable road traffic collisions.”

This comes after campaigners hit out at the new cycling rules which people believe will be the catalyst for resentment and road rage aimed at cyclists.

Not only that, but people thought there wasn't adequate communication of the rules.

If you're not familiar with the recent changes, the Department of Transport published them on 29 January which included a 'hierarchy of road users' that will mean drivers could face £200 ($270) fines and six points on their licence if they don't follow the rules.

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Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Drivers were told they need to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians, with the idea being that the law will require those who can do the greatest harm to others to have a higher level of responsibility to reduce the danger.

This means for example that someone driving will have more responsibility to watch out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse, and cyclists will have more responsibility to be aware of pedestrians.

Other key amendments included clearer guidance for drivers to leave a minimum distance of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists, and instructing drivers to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross roads at junctions.

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Days ago Road Safety Minister, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, said: "There has been a huge amount of coverage of the new Highway Code, for which we are extremely grateful, and there will continue to be coverage.

“But I am afraid there has been an awful lot of hot air as well, because the changes are actually not that significant.

“If, as a pedestrian, you start to cross the road, you already have priority. 

“There has been no change in that regard. There was already guidance as to where cyclists should ride on the road, we are just clarifying what is reasonable and what is not.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, UK News, Cars

Rebecca Shepherd
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