The Highway Code Revisions And Updates

The Highway Code Revisions And Updates:


The Highway Code undergoes regular revisions and with over two thirds of CWU members driving as part or all of their job plus the majority driving to/from work, it’s important to be aware of the latest version of the Highway Code book. While some revisions may be moderate, others will cover changes to important laws such as drink driving limits, and safety regulations.

Background – Highway Code For England, Scotland And Wales.

The Highway Code first appeared in 1931 and has been updated as vehicles, driving practices and laws have changed. The Highway Code UK covers England, Scotland and Wales. The aim of The Highway Code is to make the roads safer for everyone. The Official DVSA Highway Code can be browsed on line here:- and the booklet can purchased online from the DVSA for £2.50 here:- It can also be purchased from many online retailers and most bookshops.

The Highway Code For Northern Ireland

There is a separate edition for Northern Ireland. On the NI Direct Website is a complete pdf version of The Highway Code (NI) that can be downloaded, as well as its individual sections. The link is:-

The Highway Code Book (Summary)

The Highway Code Book is broken down into specific sections for different road users and instances:

  • Rules for pedestrians.General guidance for people on foot, including how to cross the road, understanding different types of crossings and how to use them.
  • Rules for powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters.Covers which types of mobility vehicles can be used on the road as well as on the pavement, and the rules to follow in each case.
  • Rules about animals.For people using horses and horse-drawn vehicles, as well as people with dogs and other animals.
  • Rules for cyclists.Laws for cyclists to follow, including how to handle junctions and roundabouts.
  • Rules for motorcyclists.Covering legal requirements such as helmets and other safety issues, carrying passengers and driving at night.
  • Rules for drivers and motorcyclists.Covers rules about vehicle conditions, towing, passenger safety, drink driving and more.
  • General rules for all drivers and riders.Covers general rules and guidance, including signalling, stopping, speed limits and lane driving.
  • Using the road.General rules on how to use the road safely, such as overtaking, junctions, roundabouts and crossings.
  • Road users requiring extra care.A special section for especially vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Driving in adverse weather conditions.How to handle rain, fog, ice, high winds and storms.
  • Waiting and parking.Rules on parking, waiting and parking enforcement.
  • Rules on using motorways safely.
  • Breakdowns and incidents.What to do in the event of a breakdown or traffic incident.
  • Roadworks, level crossings and tramways.Guidance on how to navigate these specialised areas.
  • Light signals controlling traffic.Understanding traffic lights, motorway signals and lane control signals.
  • Signals to road users.How to signal correctly, and understanding others’ signals.
  • Signals by authorised persons.Understanding arm signals from police and other authorised officials.
  • Traffic signs.Understanding the myriad signs you’ll encounter on the road.
  • Road markings.Helping you understand the different road markings and what they mean.
  • Vehicle markings.What various vehicle markings mean, including hazard warning plates.

Those are the main areas. Additional sections give more detail on a range of subjects including penalties, first aid and other forms of guidance. There’s a lot to cover, but it’s important that drivers study it carefully and absorb as much as they can.

The Drink Drive Limit

There are strict alcohol limits for drivers, but it’s impossible to say exactly how many drinks this equals – it’s different for each person. The limits in Scotland are different to the rest of the UK. See below. The golden rule is don’t drink and drive and secondly beware of ‘the morning after effect’.Level of alcoholEngland, Wales and Northern IrelandScotlandMicrograms per 100 millilitres of breath3522Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood8050Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine10767

The Highway Code And Road Signs

The Highway Code has a large section on traffic signs, and covers the majority of them. There’s a lot of different road signs to remember, some are commonplace (speed limit signs, for example) or self-explanatory (the Stop sign), others are comparatively rare or could seem insignificant unless you know exactly what the symbols and colours mean. However, a full guide to every sign is available in a book entitled ‘Know Your Traffic Signs‘. The Highway Code has a section detailing the signs that give orders, warnings, directions, information, as well as signs you’ll encounter at road works. It’s vital to memorise these as fully as possible, because if you don’t know what to do in response to a road sign it could cause an accident.

The Highway Code And The Law

Some elements of The Highway Code are legal requirements, and breaking these rules is a criminal offence that can be met with a fine, penalty points, loss of driving license or in some cases a prison sentence. Legal requirements are clearly marked with the words MUST or MUST NOT. Other guidelines in The Highway Code are not legally binding, but they will help drivers become safer drivers. Just be aware that if drivers don’t adhere to rules that have advisory wording in them and they are being prosecuted for a driving offence, then The Highway Code can be used against those drivers in court and will be taken seriously by judges.

Penalty Points, Fines And Driving Bans

Full details can be found at:-

The Highway Code Revisions

To regularly monitor updates you can visit Gov.UK’s Highway Code updates page:- Attached find a list of revisions with some details for the period 2015-2021. The full details can be found on the Gov.UK’s Highway Code updates page at the above link.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 367/21 – The Highway Code Revisions and Updates

Att: The Highway Code Updates – 2015-2021

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