Drivers face unlimited fines and even JAIL time if they don't get 'sufficient sleep' under new Highway Code rules

DRIVERS could be jailed or face unlimited fines if they don't get enough sleep under new Highway Code rules.

There were 33 updates to the code last week, with two new laws added, to help make roads safer.

Motorists are now being warned they must get "sufficient" sleep before making a long journey.

Under the tighter rules, tired drivers have also been told they shouldn't use emergency areas and motorway hard shoulders to take a break.

Anyone who feels drowsy behind the wheel should stop and rest at service areas along the way.

Police figures show up to four per cent of fatal crashes in the UK are caused by driver fatigue, road safety charity Brake says.


The updated Rule 91 of the Highway Code reads: "Get sufficient sleep before embarking on a long journey.

"If you feel sleepy, stop in a safe place. Do not stop in an emergency area or on a hard shoulder of a motorway."

Drivers who are tired while driving risk falling asleep at the wheel and increase the chance of causing an accident.

Crashes caused by motorists falling asleep at the wheel are usually classified as 'dangerous driving', the RAC states.

The maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years in prison.

Offenders also risk an unlimited fine and a driving ban of at least two years.

Drivers who stop on the hard shoulder to take a break face a fine of up to £5,000, nine penalty points and a lengthy driving ban for careless driving if they cause an accident.


Last month, a driver who fell asleep at the wheel after working a night shift and was involved in a head-on crash which killed his 22-year-old pregnant passenger was jailed.

Niklaus Warner, 29, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The two-vehicle crash around 5.15am on June 4, 2020 killed Meghan Pollentine, who was travelling in the car with Warner.

In May, a court heard how a sleep-deprived gran killed a van driver when she nodded off at the wheel after staying up all night for the birth of her granddaughter.

Sandra Baumber tried to keep herself awake by swigging coffee and winding down her window before setting out from Scunthorpe General Hospital, North Lincolnshire.


While driving home from the maternity unit, the 55-year-old fell asleep and ploughed into motorist Andrew Colbet, who was crushed into the wreckage and died in hospital.

Baumber was given a six-month jail sentence suspended for 12 months and banned from driving for 12 months.

The new version of the Highway Code also includes a "hierarchy of road users".

People who can cause the most harm in a collision bear the "greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others".

A lorry driver has a greater responsibility than those driving a car or motorcycle and cyclists have a greater responsibility than pedestrians.

The hierarchy in order of priority will be: pedestrians; cyclists; horse riders; motorcyclists; cars/taxis; vans/minibuses, with large passenger and heavy goods vehicles at the bottom.

A new rule says at a junction drivers should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into, or out of, which they are turning.

Cyclists will have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.

The new Code makes it clear that 20mph speed limits must not be exceeded by drivers.

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