Once you’ve passed your driving test, it’s easy to believe that you know everything there is to know about driving.
In reality, the rules of the road are constantly changing and it’s important to have up-to-date knowledge of the latest motoring laws. To help, we’ve pulled together a list of seven new driving laws for 2021 – all of which could lead to a fine or penalty points if you break them.
Brexit motoring laws
Remember those days when you’d groan every time you heard another Brexit update? It may seem a long time ago now, but the consequences of Brexit are now coming into effect, and one of them is in the form of a new motoring law.
As the UK has now left the EU, British drivers must adhere to new requirements when driving in EU countries. This means carrying a green card, your driving licence, and having a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle unless your number plate already has a GB identifier either alone or with the Union flag.
Those travelling abroad for less than 12 months will also need their V5C logbook.
Remember, in certain countries you’re also required to carry specific equipment in your vehicle such as reflective clothing, emission stickers, and headlight converter stickers – so, make sure you research the requirements of the country you’re visiting ahead of time.
Learn more about these new driving laws over on the government website.
Mobile phone motoring law
Laws banning the use of mobile phones while driving have been in place since 2003 – with a loophole that still allowed drivers to take photos or videos while driving.
To address this, the laws have changed for 2021 and it’s now illegal to hold your mobile phone for any purpose while driving – that includes flicking through a playlist or scrolling through social media.
If you break this law, you could find yourself £200 out of pocket with 6 points on your licence.
MOT extension period
Back in 2020, getting your car to the garage for an MOT was difficult or simply not possible. To help, the government announced an extension period for any vehicles whose MOTs were due between 31st March and 31st July.
With a maximum extension of 6 months, the latest any qualifying vehicles could get their MOT completed was the end of January 2021, a deadline that has now passed.
Remember, driving a car without an MOT is illegal and can lead to hefty fines. Learn more about MOT law here.
New clean air zones
London’s clean air zones have been around for a while now, but there are a few changes for 2021, and other cities are introducing their own versions too.
The laws will change so that hybrid cars are no longer exempt from London’s congestion charge and the boundaries for both the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) are expanding. Introduced in 2019, the ULEZ includes stricter emission standards and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can find the new boundaries here.
London isn’t the only city with clean air zones and many cities are introducing their own in 2021. These include:
- Bath – Clean Air Zone set to be introduced in March 2021
- Oxford – Zero Emissions Zone due to be implemented from summer 2021
- Bristol – Will also be introducing a clean air zone some time in spring
- Birmingham – After previously being delayed, Birmingham’s Low Emission Zone will go ahead this year
Automated Lane Keeping System
It may be a mouthful to say, but the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKT) is technology we’ll all become familiar with in the not-too-distant future.
The technology helps keep cars in lane by automatically controlling the movement of the vehicle without driver intervention.
Current plans mean you could be driving a car with ALKS from spring, although this will depend on government findings in a safety study from 2020.
New green number plates
From the beginning of December 2020, new green number plates became legal on UK roads.
Featuring a green slip on the left side of the plate, these are available for zero-emission vehicles. With one, these vehicles should become more visible helping owners to take advantage of zero-emission zones and green parking initiatives.
If you have a zero-emission vehicle, it could be worthwhile considering a green number plate.
OK, this is one for 2022, but you can never be too prepared.
From 2022, speed limiters will be mandatory on all new vehicles. These systems alert drivers if they’re driving too fast and will automatically slow the car’s speed if the driver doesn’t lower it themselves.
So, if you’re buying a new car from 2022 onwards, expect it to have a speed limiter.
Now you’re up to date with the latest motoring laws! Head out on your next drive safe in the knowledge that you’re clued up on the rules of the road.
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