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New research shows lack of understanding of road rules

A survey of 1,000 plus road users shows that three quarters of drivers are not up to date with basic road rules.

The survey, undertaken by Interactive Driving Systems (IDS) with support from road safety charity Brake, the Institute of Advance Motorists (IAM), the Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers and the University of Huddersfield, found that between 50 and 74% of drivers questioned do not have the most basic knowledge of the current Highway Code.

It also shows that a number of people are driving their children to school every day or driving over 20,000 miles per annum as part of their work and have not looked at the Highway Code for more than 10 years.

The survey was prompted by the results from over 26,000 fleet drivers that were recently risk-assessed using the IDS on-line RoadRISK tool. Managing director Andy Cuerden says: “We were shocked to find that 49% of the 26,000 fleet drivers we risk-assessed did not fully understand the road rules nor the road signs placed to help them. If they had an accident they would not even know whether they were at fault or not.”

Some of the things the report included were:

  • Only half of the respondents claimed to have an up to date copy of the Highway Code.
  • More than a fifth (22.5%) of respondents had not read the Highway Code for over 10 years.
  • 74% of respondents did not know when the Highway Code was last revised, and therefore may not be up to be up to date with the current rules of the road.
  • 61% of respondents drive more than 10,000 miles per annum.

    Most respondents (29.6%) had read the Highway Code to pass their driving test - but then would only read it again for work (15.7%), after a specific incident (11.3%) or when their children were learning to drive (8%). In total there were over 600 separate reasons given why it may be useful to read the Highway Code.

    Driving to and from work were seen as the main purpose of journey, making up almost 54% of respondents time on the road or distance. This suggests that employers have a duty of care to ensure that their staff are supplied with up to date copies of the Highway Code a minimum standard.

    Mary Williams chief executive of Brake commented: “These shocking results may actually be worse for the general driving population - because many of the survey respondents work in Road Safety or fleet management and will use the Highway Code as part of their day to day employment. This suggests an urgent need for a Government campaign and concerted effort to encourage more people, and their employers, to purchase and read the Highway Code.”

    A full copy of the report is freely available from Dr Will Murray by emailing or calling 01484-400399.

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