In the wake of recent changes to the Highway Code, IAM RoadSmart says millions of drivers are ‘running the risk of breaking the rules of the road’ and ‘endangering the safety of other road users and pedestrians’.
In a survey commissioned by the charity, 20% of the 1,000 respondents were unaware of the latest changes to the code, which came into force on 29 January.
More than half (51%) of respondents admitted they can’t remember the last time they referred to the Highway Code, while 34% said they hadn’t read the code in over a year.
This is despite the fact that 83% of respondents believe changes and regular updates to the Highway Code are important.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “An alarming number of motorists are driving on Britain’s roads without awareness of key changes which fundamentally shift the dynamics of shared use.
“This is a serious safety risk which could actually see the updated code causing more conflict on our roads rather than less.”
At their core, the changes are designed to improve safety for the most vulnerable road users.
They centre around a new hierarchy of road-users, meaning quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.
In total, ten sections of The Highway Code have been changed, with 50 rules being added or updated.
These cover issues such as people crossing the road at junctions, walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces and overtaking when driving or cycling.