Highway Code Updates & Keeping Your Employees Informed

Why should employers keep their workers informed of changes?

Professional drivers are on the road for company business. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty of care to their employees, and for the safety of other people who could be affected by the company’s work.  This would include other road users when employees are driving for work.

The provision of adequate  information, instruction and training to enable them to carry out their employment with due regard for their safety and that of others would suggest the holding a record of a  formal briefing of the changes to the Highway Code on each driver’s personal record, would demonstrate a commitment to this employer duty and help to ensure your drivers do not fall foul to dated now illegal practices.

Keeping your drivers safe and moving is also important for business. The cost of a collision may appear to be covered by insurance, but associated costs will not be, such as loss of business, time spent processing the insurance claim, cost of hiring a replacement vehicle, and potential damage to reputation. This is in addition to the possible loss of key personnel due to injury, stress or receiving penalty points on their licence for failing to comply with the Highway Code.

What are the changes?  Back in January 2022 there were 8 updates made to the Highway Code including a new hierarchy of road users, with those potentially most at risk from others having higher priority, as follows:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles
  • Motorcyclists
  • Cars/taxis
  • Vans/minibuses
  • Large passenger and heavy goods vehicles

Key points:  The greatest responsibility for taking care not to cause harm to others lies with drivers of vehicles with the potential to cause the most harm.

  • Pedestrians now have priority when crossing and when waiting to cross at road junctions
  • Cyclists have priority if they are passing a turning car. If a driver wishes to turn and there is a cyclist or horse rider going straight ahead, the driver needs to give way
  • Passing distances have been updated. Drivers now need to allow a gap of at least 5 feet (1.5 metres) between their vehicle and a cyclist when overtaking at 30mph. At higher speeds, more space should be allowed. The passing distance for pedestrians and horses is 6.5 feet (2 metres), and vehicle speed should be reduced to 10mph when passing horses.

To view all the Highway Code changes click here