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Two in three drivers unaware of forthcoming changes to Highway Code, says AA

Motoring organisation urges Department for Transport to run awareness campaign ahead of new rules coming into effect at end of January

Two in three drivers – at the very least – are unaware of new Highway Code rules due to come into effect at the end of next month and which are aimed at protecting vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians, says the AA, which polled 13,000 of its members on the subject.

Telegraph.co.uk reports that the motoring organisation has said the new rules could lead to “confusion and dangerous situations.”

As we have previously reported, major changes to guidance include the establishment of a Hierarchy of Road Users aimed at protecting the most vulnerable, as well as drivers being told to leave at least 1.5 metres’ room when overtaking cyclists.

> Highway Code changes aimed at protecting cyclists to become law next month

The AA is urging the government to conduct an awareness campaign ahead of the changes coming in to ensure that drivers are aware of them – a concern that we are aware is shared by many road.cc readers who have responded to our articles on the subject.

Of the 13,000 AA members polled, only one in three – 33 per cent – were aware that the Highway Code is being changed.

Worryingly, one in five respondents– 20 per cent – believed that the news was false. Such are the times in which we live.

What is particularly concerning is that we suspect that AA members would on average be more engaged with motoring issues than drivers who do not belong to such an organisation – not least because they would have received email or other communications keeping them abreast of the latest developments.

With that in mind, we don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to estimate that levels of awareness of the forthcoming changes among the general population are well below the one in three that the AA found among its members.

AA president Edmund King said: “With such fundamental changes to the Highway Code taking place to make our roads safer, we need to ensure road users understand the new rules ahead of time.

“Getting the message out now would help avoid dangerous situations and remove any confusion on the roads before the new rules are adopted.”

Telegraph.co.uk quoted a spokesman for the Department for Transport (DfT) as saying: “The proposed upcoming changes to The Highway Code will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders and were widely reported when they were announced earlier this year.”

We are contacting the DfT to try and establish if an awareness campaign will be carried out ahead of the changes to the Highway Code coming into effect at the end of January.

> Highway Code changes: ‘What about cyclists, or do the rules not apply to them?’

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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