Upcoming changes in the UK driving law

18.02.2021
Upcoming changes in the UK driving law

What is in common between the concepts: care and the nation? Exactly – periodic changes. Taking care of its citizens, the government often introduces various amendments and changes into the legislation concerning various aspects of our life. British government intends to make certain changes directly related to driving starting from 2021. We just have to be patient and prepare for the innovations, but most importantly, we have to understand their essence. It’s not that easy changing the skills and driving habits developed over the years. Moreover, for many of us these changes will seem pointless, and maybe limiting and inconvenient. To be honest, my first reaction was pretty funny. “That's why there are rules so you can break them! Oops... I didn’t say that out loud J” We are unlikely to break the new rules, because the charges are very serious – fines, points in your driving license or even revoked DL. The main thing is to understand and accept that in fact, the laws were created in order for us to have a safer and more peaceful life.

There are 7 upcoming changes in total described below:

Stricter penalties for using a mobile phone while driving

The loophole where you could take pictures or record a video while driving is now closed. From 2021 it is easy to get a £200 fine and six points in your driver's license if you are caught interacting with your phone or navigation system in any way while driving or being stationary with the engine on. “Interaction” means any touch of the phone or navigation system, including scrolling through a playlist, using social media, setting driving directions, and so on.

Post-Brexit changes related to travel abroad

If you plan to travel to any EU country using your own car, you will need a Green Card, a driver's license and a GB sticker on the number plates. Your green card is the proof that your vehicle is insured. You can request it from your insurance company. However, the electronic version will not be accepted. You will need to make sure you have enough time to request and receive a green card before traveling. If your trip lasts less than 12 months, you need to take V5C document with you.

New green numbers for cars with zero exhaust emissions

Drivers of electric or zero-emission vehicles will now have green number plates. The aim of the changes is to promote green cars as much as possible. Vehicles with green numbers will have access to cheaper parking and free entry to low-emission areas. New license plates will have a green stripe or flashing on the left side. So, if you own a Tesla you’ll now have green numbers too and a bunch of different perks. And if you own not the oldest Vauxhall ... well, let's not talk about it.

The emergence of new zones with low exhaust emissions

What do these zones mean? These are certain areas of the city where entry fees will be charged for high-emission vehicles.

Birmingham Low Emissions Zone will be operational in 2021.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You will be able to enter this area free of charge if your vehicle is a:

  1. Moped or motorcycle
  2. Car with diesel engine, minimum standard Euro 6
  3. Car with petrol engine, minimum standard Euro 4
  4. Vehicle with zero exhaust emissions (electric or hydrogen)
  5. Low-emission vehicle

Effective from 25 October 2021, the London Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) will expand to form a single large area bounded by The North Circular Road (A406) and The South Circular Road (A205).

The creation of a clean air zone in Bath will be implemented in March 2021.

The Oxford Zero Emissions Zone will open in the summer of 2021. Only zero-emission vehicles will be able to drive in this area free of charge.

The Bristol Clean Air Zone is planned to open this spring. You will be charged around £9 to enter the area if your vehicle has a Euro 5 diesel engine or older and a Euro 3 or older petrol engine.

Fuel E10 instead of E5 as standard grade for petrol.

A new, cleaner fuel known as E10 is slated for release in 2021. This fuel is designed to reduce carbon emissions. It is estimated that using the E10 is equivalent to taking about 350,000 vehicles off the road.

Automatic lane keeping systems have been approved

An automatic lane keeping system (Automatic Lane Keeping Systems) is the technology designed to allow drivers - for the first time in history - to delegate vehicle control directly to the vehicle itself. When activated, the system keeps the vehicle within its lane by monitoring its movement for extended periods of time without the driver having to do anything. The driver must be ready and able to resume driving at the request of the vehicle. It is worth noting that the automated system can only take control of the car at low speeds, keeping it in the lane on highways.

Speed ​​limiters will become mandatory in new cars from 2022

Looking ahead, speed limiters will become mandatory on all new cars in 2022. The speed limiter, known as the Intelligent Speed ​​Assistant (ISA), alerts drivers if they are driving too fast. If the driver does not react, the car itself starts to reduce speed. Only in some cases will it be possible to override the limiter, for example, when overtaking.

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