A number of changes to driving laws are expected to come into force this year in areas ranging from MOTs to mobile phones. You should be aware of these potential changes to the law to avoid being hit with a heavy fine or penalty points on your license.

Mobile Phones – Law Change Expected Imminently

Back in 2017, in an effort to cut down on the number of road traffic accidents involving a driver being distracted by their mobile phone, the government increased the punishment for drivers caught using mobile phones from 3 points and a £100 fine to 6 points and a £200 fine.

There was, however, a loophole which meant that drivers using a mobile phone to take photos or videos while driving fell outside of the parameters of the law, which only prohibited the use of mobile phones for “interactive purposes” such as making calls or sending messages.

This loophole is now set to be closed following a consultation meaning a driver caught holding their phone under any circumstances and for any purpose (except for a small number of exemptions) faces a £200 fine and 6 penalty points on their license. Exemptions are expected to include where a phone is being used for card payment at a drive thru in a stationary vehicle.

MOT Extensions

During the first coronavirus lockdown, the government announced there would be a six-month extension on any MOTs due between 31st March and the 31st July. The last of these extensions ended on the 31st January meaning all vehicles will once again need a valid and up to date MOT certificate. Anyone caught driving a vehicle without one will face a fine of up to £1,000.

Driving in Europe

Now the UK has left the European Union, drivers from the UK travelling in EU countries will need a valid car insurance green card from their car insurance provider. The physical copy of this must be with you while driving as well as the V5C logbook for your car if your car is less than 12 months old.

Council Fines

The Department for Transport is currently in the process of drawing up legislation to almost 300 local authorities the power to issue fines to drivers for common road offences for the first time. Under these reforms, councils will be responsible for at least 20 moving traffic contraventions. These include:

  • Stopping in yellow box junctions

  • Ignoring banned left or right turns

  • Driving in cycle lanes

  • Failing to give way to oncoming vehicles

It is reported that drivers could be fined up to £70 per offence. This proposed change has drawn criticism from many who believe it will simply become a money-making scheme for cash-strapped local authorities.

Other Future Law Changes

There is also one definite and one potential law change coming into effect further down the line. From 2022, all new cars will be required to be fitted with “intelligent speed assistant” tools which have the technology to tell drivers when they are driving too fast and have the capability to interfere with the car if the driver continues to drive above the speed limit.

The results of a consultation into a nationwide pavement parking ban which took place last year are also due in the next few weeks and could see any road user who parks on the pavement issued with a £70 fine. This legislation is already in place in London.

Farleys Solicitors has a team of motoring law experts with experience of advising clients who are facing driving bans for motoring offences. For advice or representation please contact the team today on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry through our online form.