Young driver insurer calls for Highway Code to be taught in schools

12.00 | 4 August 2016 | | 8 comments

The young driver insurer ingenie is calling for the Highway Code to be taught in schools following a quiz hosted on its website in which more than 80% of participants didn’t know basic national road rules and signs.

82% of those who participated failed to recognise national road rules and signs, and more than one third got less than 50% of the questions right. Ingenie says the assessment, based on a selection of questions taken directly from the modern theory test, shows that ‘young drivers are at risk due to a lack of knowledge’.

Ingenie also conducted a social experiment to see if two experienced drivers could pass a test on road rules, 20 years after passing their driving theory tests. The experiment (featured in the video above) shows ‘Tracey’ and ‘Lester’ failing the road quiz ‘quite spectacularly’.

As a result of the findings, ingenie is calling for parents and schools to introduce under-17s to the Highway Code, along with hazard perception and driving theory, to give them a ‘head start’ with their grasp of road knowledge.

Richard King, ingenie CEO, says, "It’s worrying that even experienced drivers aren’t showing basic Highway Code knowledge, which every driver should have to keep themselves and other road users safe.

“If schools introduce the Highway Code and hazard perception to pupils before they even reach driving age, we can build an entire generation of better, safer drivers.”

The experiment is part of ingenie’s ‘parent manifesto’, a series of activities designed to educate parents on how to get more involved when their child is learning to drive. The manifesto will comprise five stages to be released over the next few months, with each stage introducing parents to another way they can help their child drive safely.


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    Nottingham City Council introduces Road Safety and the Highway Code to some 14,000 Key Stage 2 pupils across the City each year. We do this by providing an in-house prep sheet and resources to every KS2 pupil, prior to delivering a Road Safety Quiz to every primary school in the City. We are able to monitor the results from each school to help understand strengths and weaknesses, and offering further training to support those in need.

    Education needs to start in primary school, and one very good resource which we utilise is the Government’s ‘Tales of the Road’ booklet
    For more information about our Road Safety Quiz, contact

    Deb Green, Nottingham
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I am all in favour of road safety education as part of the National Curriculum and the completion of the hazard perception test/theory test prior to leaving school.

    However, this research also highlights a much bigger problem – the need for re-testing of ALL drivers on a regular basis i.e. every 10 years on renewal of the driving licence.
    This won’t go down well but how else do you maintain/check a person’s ability to be a safe & competent driver?

    Keith – Northampton
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    3 questions

    1. How does the fact that children cannot reliably assess the speeds of vehicles above 20mph effect their ability to assess the danger in oncoming traffic?

    2. How does the fact that children cannot reliably asses the speeds of vehicles above 20mph effect the driver’s behaviour in areas where there is potential for children to be present or cross the road?

    3. How will children be able to cross a road on which there is a constant procession of cars travelling at speeds at which the children are not able to reliably determine?

    Separate to the above there seems to be some conflation between the benefits of road safety for children in their independent mobility modes of walking and cycling and any future road safety for those who may eventually drive motor vehicles. It would be wrong to assume that these are the same set of children.

    Rod King
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Road Safety is about far more than motor vehicles.

    There is no reason at all younger children cannot be taught age-appropriate safety skills. Even the simplest that were commonplace for some of us older ones that have drifted out of both schools and parents concerns.

    The green cross code, the cycling proficiency test. Two simple things that have the potential to make a significant impact on collision figures. We all see the hit a child at 40 ads on TV, but a child who does not attempt to cross at all with oncoming traffic is going to be uninjured.

    Speed does not kill. Otherwise, we would have no race drivers, fighter pilots. The killer is an abrupt change in velocity.

    steve, watford
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    David: You are technically right about ‘Speed Kills’ being a flawed message (similar to ‘Elctricity Kills’ and others) – it needs to be qualified by ‘….when you hit something or someone’. This is well illustrated by the crash you described elsewhere in another comment, in which two men were killed when their car did indeed ‘hit something’ at 70mph. It wasn’t the drugs/drink that killed them – it was the speed at which they hit something. I would imagine however, that most people do get the drift of the ‘Speed Kills’ message as it stands ( and ‘Electricity Kills’ no doubt).

    Hugh Jones
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    Road Safety GB strongly supports and advocates road user education within the core curriculum. We all use our transport systems, one way or another, every day of our lives. Children and young people are more likely to be killed or injured whilst travelling than from any other cause. – many of which are the subject of teaching, advertising and investment to the tune of millions of pounds each year. Yet there is no requirement for our education system to teach anything about how to do use the roads and all means of transport to travel safely or even to teach the signs, signals and rules that apply to everyone.

    A road user education framework would provide appropriate skills and knowledge that a child needs for their age and travel (with parents, with friends, cycling etc) at every stage of a child’s education from pre-school through to learning to ride or drive and travelling as a passenger with other young drivers. This can be done by setting relevant learning outcomes – defining what a child needs to know – for each key stage. It need not take time from other subjects: most can be taught by teachers within the existing curriculum e.g. speed, distance and surface traction within science lessons, together with road safety officers to provide specialist advice,practical pedestrian and cyclist training and, later, moped and pre-driver training.

    For an example of road user learning outcomes go to: and scroll to page 5.

    Road Safety GB is working actively with other organisations to promote this inclusive approach and to encourage schools and the education professions and government to adopt these basic outcomes and to provide road user learning to every child.

    Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I disagree with the idea that 12 or 13 year olds should be allowed to drive cars, despite how much I really, really wanted to drive a car when I was 13!

    But this leads me down the idea of drivers-ed classes. I admit, I do sound rather American typing that out. I believe it’d be good if, for example, there was an introduction into driving as part of the school curriculum.

    I’m not on about evangelising the flawed “speed kills” message, or requiring school kids to breathe into a breathalyser in an attempt to shock people into realising that an alcohol-based mouth spray will trigger an alcohol breathalyser (wow…), but, perhaps more a hands on experience?

    Send the kids around on a skid pan (lovely risk assessment there), with a qualified racing driver at the wheel, explaining what can go wrong in wet conditions – whilst of course having fun. A free driving lesson on a private road when you’re 15, perhaps integrating (basic) vehicle handling and dynamics into a physics or maths lesson, something along those lines.

    And what about the folk who passed their test twenty years ago? Get them along to the lessons too.

    Of course, none of this will happen because the UK is now a poor nation, and where is all this money going to come from?! But I forever live in my dreams of people actually being able to competently drive a car.

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I agree wholeheartedly. I think ‘road use’ or ‘roadmanship’ should be added as another essential ‘R’ to make the ‘Three Rs’ the ‘Four Rs’ in the curriculum. I think it should go beyond the Highway Code though, and cover all aspects of road use including the fundamentals such as pedestrians have equal rights to motorists on public roads and that motorists do not have any superior priority on normal roads. I also believe that all children should be taught to drive a motor vehicle by about the age of 12 or 13 and thus normalise it as an everyday activity that most people do like walking and cycling, rather than holding it up as something special and glamorous that only adults are allowed to do. That way we will remove the driving test as one of the rites of passage into adulthood and thus reduce or even eliminate the machismo element of driving from the mix which leads to so many unnecessary tragedies when the resultant induced bravado is added to the effects of hormonal changes on teenagers as they turn into adults.

    Charles, England
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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