A number of motorists in the UK may find that their driving style has to distinctly change in order to fall in line with new regulations in the latest edition of the Highway Code. The 2007 revision features 307 rules and nine annexes, ranging from legislation for people in cars to pedestrians as well as cyclists.
Similar sections outlining road signs may also prove to be helpful to those revising for their theory test and forgetful motorists looking to keep their car insurance policy prices to a minimum.
New rules state that smoking a cigarette while driving can be viewed as dangerous because people may not be giving the road their full attention. As a result, police officers can take it upon themselves to pull over and caution offenders in a similar way that they would if they spotted someone behind the wheel chatting on a mobile phone.
Indeed, the ruling follows a change to regulations from the Department for Transport recently brought in, which state that any driver caught on a handheld device would face a £60 fine in addition to a three-point licence penalty.
This may be considered bad news for smokers, who also have to contend with the government's ban on smoking in public places indoor, which means they have to put the cigarettes and lighter away in restaurants and pubs.
Other new features in the handbook include advice for young drivers, coaxing those inexperienced behind the wheel through their first few months on the road. For example, it mentions that motorists should never let themselves be distracted by other people in the vehicle and that the person in control of the automobile is ultimately responsible for everybody's safety.
This may be an added pressure for young motorists, already aware that car insurance companies charge more for their policies as they are considered more of a hazard at the wheel due to their lack of experience.
The road safety minister commented that the guide has been put together with the intention of giving younger motorists a hand.
"We know that the first few months after passing your driving test can be a risky time. This is reflected in the latest code which offers practical safety advice and reminders of the rules new drivers must abide by," he said.
The Highway Code recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. Originally punished in 1931, the publication sells more than one million copies each year that it is in print.