The road user and the law
Information about the road user and the law, including acts and regulations.
Road traffic law
The following list can be found abbreviated throughout the Code. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide, but a guide to some of the important points of law. For the precise wording of the law, please refer to the various Acts and Regulations (as amended) indicated in the Code. Abbreviations are listed below.
Most of the provisions apply on all roads throughout Great Britain, although there are some exceptions. The definition of a road in England and Wales is ‘any highway and any other road to which the public has access and includes bridges over which a road passes’ (RTA 1988 sect 192(1)). In Scotland, there is a similar definition which is extended to include any way over which the public have a right of passage (R(S)A 1984 sect 151(1)).
It is important to note that references to ‘road’ therefore generally include footpaths, bridleways and cycle tracks, and many roadways and driveways on private land (including many car parks). In most cases, the law will apply to them and there may be additional rules for particular paths or ways. Some serious driving offences, including drink-driving offences, also apply to all public places, for example public car parks.
The reference to ‘emergency area’ in the Code is an ‘emergency refuge area’ as defined in the Motorways Traffic (England and Wales) Regulations 1982 as amended by the Motorways Traffic (England and Wales)(Amendment)(England) Regulations 2015.
Acts and regulations prior to 1988
|Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act 1970||CSDPA|
|Functions of Traffic Wardens Order 1970||FTWO|
|Greater London (General Powers) Act 1974||GL(GP)A|
|Highway Act 1835 or 1980 (as indicated)||HA|
|Motorways Traffic (England & Wales) Regulations 1982||MT(E&W)R|
|Pedal Cycles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1983||PCUR|
|Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981||PPVA|
|Road Traffic Act 1984||RTA|
|Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984||RTRA|
|Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986||CUR|
|Roads (Scotland) Act 1984||R(S)A|
Acts and regulations from 1988 onwards
*Specific legislation applies to smoking in vehicles which constitute workplaces.