Four driving law changes you need to know about

transportation concept - man using phone while driving the car

Driving laws are constantly being updated and keeping up to date with the changes can be difficult; however, it is extremely important to remain in the know about what you should and shouldn’t do whilst out on the road.

With four new laws coming into force this month, experts at Bill Plant Driving School have shared their knowledge surrounding the changes.

The four new laws you need to know about

1 – Mobile phone usage
The new laws surrounding mobile phone usage whilst behind the wheel have been updated to ensure that the action is met with a greater fine of £200 and a possible 6 points on your licence. If you have held your licence for less than 2 years you are also at greater risk of a driving ban.

2 – Speed Limiters
Speed limiters are already permitted to be fitted on vehicles with more than 8 passenger seats and also any goods vehicles with a maximum weight exceeding 2.5 tonnes.

All new cars are permitted to be built with an inbuilt speed-limiter to cap the top speed of the vehicle. However, it is still the responsibility of the driver to stick to the speed limit.

3 – Low-emission zones
As these zones become more common around the country, it is important to check that if you are entering one on your journey, you have taken all the necessary steps for avoiding a fine.

Check that your vehicle meets the emission standards of these zones, or that you have paid the low-emissions fee before entering. If you don’t pay the fee you could be risking a fine of up to £500.

Bradford low emission zones will start charging from the 26th of September 2022, and Bristol, Newcastle and Gateshead will begin charging later this year. Be sure to keep up to date with when your local low-emission zones begin charging and which class the zone is (A-D) as this can determine whether you are required to pay the fee.

4 – Transporting goods to Europe
You will need a standard international goods vehicle operator licence for transporting goods for hire or reward in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

If you are transporting over 2.5 tonnes and up to 3.5 tonnes either via towing or in your vehicle, you may need to upgrade your standard national goods vehicle operating licence to a standard international goods vehicle operating licence before travelling to these countries with goods for hire or reward.

Tom Hixon, Head of Instructor Support from Bill Plant Driving School has shared the following regarding the law changes:

“Staying up to date with the rules of the road is extremely important for all motorists. You can opt to stay informed with any updates and changes made to the legislation via email, which serves as a more practical alternative to checking the government website on a regular basis. It is worth noting that we are seeing a few changes made to road laws; with adjustments being seen in regard to devices, speed and emissions. Brexit has also led to changes to rules, such as those surrounding transporting goods to Europe.

Mobile phone usage at the wheel has often been revised within the law over the years, but the odd grey areas have remained. However, as of this month, the fines in response to any hand-held use of mobile phones whilst driving have been increased, ensuring that perpetrators are punished accordingly – if you are a new driver you are also at risk of losing your licence. Keeping your focus on the road ahead of you is vitally important, and phones are one of the biggest distractions for drivers, therefore this legal adjustment should enable even safer roads.

Separately, speed limiters and low-emission zones (LEZ) have been introduced gradually to the world of driving. All new vehicles are permitted to include an in-built speed limiter which will cap the top speed of the vehicle. However, drivers will still be expected to stick to the speed limits set on the roads. Low-emission zones are an important step to reducing emissions and reducing pollution levels across the country, you should keep updated about which type of LEZ you might encounter on your journey, some fees only apply to vehicles such as coaches, taxis and HGV’s, whereas zones which are type D can apply to cars and motorbikes.

Finally, if you are planning on transporting goods for hire or reward to specific countries in Europe, you must make sure that you have an international goods vehicle operating licence and have added the vehicles you are transporting to your licence. The requirements surrounding this regulation are also based on the mass of your vehicle or the weight of your tow load. Therefore, updating yourself on these changes is important and can save you from any trouble or unwarranted delays throughout your journey.

If you are unsure about any of these laws, we would advise staying updated by reviewing the gov.uk website.”

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