Highway Code: This Morning panel debate changes to code
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The latest edition of the Highway Code hit the shelves on Thursday and includes guidance on phone rules and longer prison sentences for dangerous driving. Highway Code changes were introduced in January and March and were designed to make the roads safer.
In January’s update, the new driving laws set out a “hierarchy of road users”, ensuring that quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others on the road.
Cyclists were given fresh guidance to ride in the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions in order to make themselves as clearly visible as possible.
They were also reminded that they can ride two abreast, as has always been the case, as it can be safer in large groups or with children.
However, they must be aware of drivers behind them and allow them to overtake if it is safe to do so.
On March 25, new mobile phone laws came into effect, stating that drivers must not use a handheld device when at the wheel. This includes messaging on a smartwatch or using a tablet.
The only other exception is when using a hand-held device to make a contactless payment.
The car must be stationary and the services or goods must be received at the same time or just after including drive-through food and coffee services.
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This can lead drivers to receive six points on their licence and a £200 fine, which can be increased to £1,000.
The new physical edition of the Code also updates the new penalties for various offences.
For example, causing death by dangerous driving now attracts a five-year minimum sentence, with the possibility of life imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
Causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs attracts the same punishment.
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Dangerous driving can lead to two years in prison, an unlimited fine and a person may be disqualified from the road.
Last month, the AA revealed that three-fifths of drivers still haven’t read the updated Highway Code rules.
Just 39 percent had read the new rules, a slight increase from 33 percent of drivers who were asked the same question in January this year.
One in 10 drivers between the ages of 18 to 54 were completely unaware of the changes to the Code, compared to one in 20 drivers older than 55.
Worryingly, two percent said that they had no intention of reading the updated Highway Code.
Tim Rankin, managing director of AA Accident Assist, said he was “concerned” that so many still hadn’t read the new rules.
He added that it was in everyone’s interest to take every measure that helps avoid collisions and remove confusion from the road.
“We urge those that still haven’t read the updated Code to do so as soon as possible,” Mr Rankin said.
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