Insurance specialist issues Highways Code warning
Coach insurance specialist, McCarron Coates, warns that coach operators must seriously reflect on the nuances behind the upcoming changes in the Highways Code.
The company is urging coach operators to not only be aware of new changes to the Highway Code as of 29 January, but to seriously reflect when it comes to their risk management.
McCarron Coates says coach operators need to not just appreciate and abide by the changes, but be seen to have done everything to brief and train drivers in what is expected of them. Unless drivers are aware of the new rules, risk management strategies, geared at reducing claims and lowering insurance premiums, could be seriously undermined.
McCarron Coates also suggests that the new rules could potentially open the door to more opportunities to shift liability on to the shoulders of the coach driver and their firm. This is because they position drivers of passenger and heavy goods vehicles, as being those creating the greatest amount of risk on the road, given the size and weight of the vehicles driven and their capacity to cause harm. For this reason, drivers of larger vehicles are at the bottom of the hierarchy and urged to take greater care and responsibility for all other road users who sit above them within the new ranking.
“By putting a greater onus on the drivers of passenger and heavy goods vehicles to be responsible for the safety of all others, we fear that drivers of these vehicles are more likely to be deemed at-fault for accidents” – McCarron Coates director, Paul Coates
“Literally, with great power comes great responsibility,” said McCarron Coates director, Paul Coates. “By putting a greater onus on the drivers of passenger and heavy goods vehicles to be responsible for the safety of all others, we fear that drivers of these vehicles are more likely to be deemed at-fault for accidents, where there is no clear evidence to the contrary. When an AA survey suggests 33% of drivers are unaware of the changes, it is very worrying.”
McCarron Coates is encouraging coach operators to invest in swift driver training, so they are abreast of the new rules, but also the technology that will enable them to provide proof, if they are not ‘at fault’ for an accident. The broker is urging coach operators to pay particular attention to the driver’s all-round-vehicle visibility, particularly as cyclists now have priority to continue ahead at a junction where a vehicle is waiting to turn left.
Fellow director, Ian McCarron, adds: “The Highway Code clearly states that, although failure to comply with rules that do not use the words MUST or MUST NOT, will not cause a person to be criminally prosecuted, the Highway Code may be used in court proceedings brought under the Traffic Acts to establish liability. Therefore, we urge coach operators to swiftly upgrade their risk management and seek advice on how to better control their risks, under the new regime.”
McCarron Coates can be contacted on 0113 298 3489.