On January 29th, 2022, several important changes to the Highway Code came into effect. As the employer of the business, it is imperative to start considering how these changes might affect the way you do business. And if you manage employees who drive for work, you have an even greater obligation to make sure they’re aware of the Code changes.
The Highway Code aims to protect vulnerable road users and make highway travel safer. The main change is to create a hierarchy of road users, which includes protecting pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders.
Failure to follow these rules could result in fines and points, and ultimately cost drivers their licences. Losing the right to drive could prevent drivers from fulfilling their jobs.
What should businesses know About The Highway Code?
The Highway Code is a set of rules that govern the use of public roads in the UK. The code is designed to keep road users safe by avoiding incidents and accidents. Data indicates an 11% decrease in casualties on UK roads for the year ending June 2021 compared to the previous year. Also, 9% fewer reported accidents and a 5% decrease in traffic were noted since June 2020. Although those numbers seem promising, it doesn’t mean that UK roads couldn’t be made safer. That seems to be the take of The Highway Code 2022 changes.
The top 5 significant Highway Code Changes 2022
Crossing at junctions:
When pedestrians cross at junctions, they have priority. If they proceed to cross, all other traffic must stop and wait. Cyclists need to give them priority too.
Pedestrians, cyclists or horse riders in shared spaces:
Should make sure they take precautions. They should avoid approaching pedestrians at high speed, particularly from behind. Also, they need to signal their approach and remember that some road users might be deaf or blind.
Passing cyclists and horse riders:
The new Highway Code (2022) states that a driver needs to leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds up to 30mph, and more when driving faster. It also applies to motorcyclists.
Using Mobile phone:
In the future, Drivers can still use hands-free devices while stuck in traffic, but they can no longer select songs and play games while waiting at the traffic lights.
The new Highway Code rules – how do they affect employers
At first, this new set of rules might not seem that important. But if you think about it, it does have a big impact on business. Fines and points can lead to the loss of driving licences, which means staff members will be unable to perform their job duties.
Let’s say a line manager needs to attend regular meetings at different locations. If they lose their driving licence, their travelling for work abilities will become restricted.
Have a conversation with your employees regarding the changes to the Highway code their responsibilities around it, and the penalties associated with being in breach.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure your staff fulfil their contract to the best of their abilities but if they are unable to do so because of the Highway code changes, then you must look at amending their contract to suit the exceptional circumstances of the employee along with following due process surrounding penalty notices.
If you need help with employment law changes regarding the Highway code or any other HR support, please get in touch with us.