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‘Millions’ breaking the Highway Code and potentially committing traffic offences

Some driving behaviours are clearly a breach of the Highway Code. One such offence is ‘running’ a traffic signal, which can attract a minimum £100 fine and three penalty points or even disqualification. This doesn’t seem to have deterred millions of drivers after a survey found a fifth admitted driving through a red traffic light.

It discovered that 21% of motorists and 27% of cyclists have ignored a red traffic light in the last year.

More than 2,000 people were polled, but if the results were extrapolated out to the total population then around nine million motorists are driving around having committed road traffic offences.

The research from comparison site uSwitch also found that 62% have exceeded the speed limit – 9% apparently having done so within the last 24 hours – and 29% have used their mobile phone while driving, which is absolutely believable given the number you see doing it every day.

Despite all this, only a third of road users (36%) believe they have broken the Highway Code and more than a quarter (28%) aren’t sure whether they have or not. If you break the Highway Code, then you’re at greater risk for prosecution for Careless Driving – even if there was no accident.

Hint: if you’ve done any of the above then you’ve really broken it.

Lack of understanding of the Highway Code

However, facetious comments aside, there’s an important point here.

The reason why so many people probably think they’ve not broken the code, or aren’t sure whether they have, is understandable as in reality no-one reads the Highway Code after they’ve passed their theory test. For most drivers, that is often when they’re were a teenager.

Rod Jones, senior commercial manager at uSwitch says: “It’s clear there’s a lack of understanding of the Highway Code among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and the consequences could be fatal, even before you think about the financial and legal risks.”

It’s worth having a copy of the latest Code and it can be downloaded for free here.

If you’re facing a driving offence and don’t know whether to plead guilty or not, then you should take advice. It doesn’t necessarily follow that a breach of the Highway Code should result in a prosecution.