Fleet News

Highway Code has failed to keep up with vehicle technology

A survey of approved driving instructors (ADIs) has found that the majority of them believe that the Highway Code learner licence questions and study material lags too far behind today’s automotive technology.

The poll of more than 1,000 ADIs by rightdriver.co.uk also suggests new drivers may be being disadvantaged because of this in that they are not aware of their options when picking the safest vehicle.

While electronic stability control (ESC) has been compulsory in all European-manufactured vehicles since 2011, there is no mention in the Highway Code, even though Rule 120 specifically mentions ABS.

Nor is there mention of a raft of newer safety technology which can save lives. Almost eight in 10 of ADIs that responded agreed that ESC should be included as there is the implication that ABS will save a vehicle from skidding regardless of the circumstances, which could lead to dangerous situations.

The Highway Code and revision bank ignores mention of EuroNCAP (Europe), ANCAP (Australia) and JNCAP (Japan) crash testing regimes, and there is nothing about hybrid or electric vehicle technology, despite these kinds of vehicles becoming mainstream.

Almost two thirds (64.6%) of ADIs believed that hybrid vehicle knowledge should be included.

Right Driver director, Darren Cottingham, said: "If young drivers are not aware of their options, they are less likely to make the safest decision when it comes to purchasing a car.

"Vehicle distributors and dealers know that consumer demand is one of the key drivers behind the adoption of safety technology by manufacturers.

"To accelerate the transition to a safer vehicle fleet, knowledge of safety features needs to be ubiquitous."

While some ADIs think that the Highway Code should simply deal with the core road rules and driving skills, most favour a reduction in the duplication of questions, and the inclusion of more specific knowledge about how to choose a safer vehicle.

A Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) spokesman said: " DVSA welcomes sight of the survey findings. We shall consider the issues raised during our regular refresh of theory test questions and our learning materials," and further added, "The Department for Transport is not planning a review of the Highway Code at this time. We do, though, regularly review our learning materials."


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