Road law continues to evolve, and this year we’re seeing some significant changes to the law that will affect millions of Brits. Let’s look at the imminent changes and how they could affect us.
MOT extension ending
During the first coronavirus lockdown, the Government announced a six-month extension for MOTs between 31 March and 31 July, but this came to an end early this year.
Driving without a valid MOT certificate could result in fines of up to £1,000.
Fortunately, Brits don’t need an International Driving Permit in most cases when travelling abroad, although here is a list of exceptions.
What we do now need is an insurance green card, which proves we have a valid policy in place. You can get this from your insurance provider, and must have one with you at all times when driving your car abroad.
Drivers will also need to have their V5C logbook on them if their vehicle is less than 12 months old.
Mobile phone use
According to Go Compare, a loophole which allowed drivers to get away with taking photos or videos while driving has been closed. Other sources report that the loophole will be closed this year.
Of course, IAM RoadSmart firmly believe that drivers should never be distracted by a mobile device when driving – loophole or no.
Under the new rules, road users can be issued a £200 fine and six penalty points by simply holding a phone under any circumstances.
New Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) rules
In a major step towards self-driving cars being legal on UK roads, the government has announced that ALKS could be legal on UK roads this year.
Drivers using this tech would be allowed to take their hands off the steering wheel, and take their eyes off the road. They would need to be able to respond to requests from the car to take control within 10 seconds. If the driver fails to do this, the car will come to a gradual stop.
New Clean Air Zones
London’s ULEZ, which is in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is getting much larger from 25 October 2021.
Bath and Birmingham will be the first cities outside of London to introduce new Clean Air Zone charges this year. The highest polluting vehicles will be charged £8 per day to use Birmingham’s roads.
Green number plate changes
Owners of electric and zero-emission vehicles can now purchase the brand new green number plates.
The scheme could launch a range of benefits for owners of fully-electric models with the Government hinting at cheaper parking and special zero-emission zones.
Future law changes
Intelligent Speed Assistant (ISA) tools will become mandatory on all new cars from 2022. ISAs are designed to keep drivers at or below the speed limit, and Research in Sweden and the Netherlands has shown that when using an ISA system, motorists drive more slowly, even when it can be switched off.
A nationwide pavement parking ban is likely to come into effect this or next year, with exact dates and details TBC. This would see a blanket ban on all pavement parking, to make pavements safer for families and people with disabilities and visual impairments.
A national ban could see a £70 fine issued to any road user who parks on the pavement, similar to current legislation in London.
What can employers do to keep drivers informed?
Ensuring your drivers are well acquainted with new road laws is essential for their safety and to protect the organisation. An extremely effective method for monitoring staff, helping them stay up to date, and flagging any drivers who could do with some further training is CHOICES – our e-learning and risk management portal.