New rules from the DVLA take effect in January 2022, including tougher laws on mobile phone use, new council powers to enforce fines on minor driving offences, and changes to the Highway Code.
Here’s what you need to know.
All new cars are to be fitted with speed limiters from July 2022 to improve road safety.
Most EU laws for new cars will be retained in the UK to help standardise car manufacturing across Europe.
Stricter laws on the use of mobile phones have now come into force. Taking pictures, selecting a song, playing games or videoing while driving are all illegal – even if you're stopped at a red light.
Drivers caught will be handed a £200 fixed penalty fine and six points on their licence.
You can still use your phone for directions as long as it is secured in a cradle or you have hands-free access.
Drivers are set to be hit with widespread enforcement of £70 fines as councils in England and Wales are given the power to issue fines for “moving traffic” offences, which include stopping in yellow box junctions, performing illegal turns, and driving in cycle lanes.
At the moment, most councils are only able to send out penalties for parking and driving in bus lanes, but the new powers will enable councils to apply for the rights to issue penalties for additional minor offences.
All new properties built in England from 2022 will have to have an electric vehicle (EV) charge point installed, including all housing and commercial buildings.
Through the availability of more EV chargers, the government hopes to boost the uptake of electric vehicles ahead of the planned ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2035.
Other cities are following London’s lead in implementing Clean Air Zones to help reduce CO2 emissions and improve quality of life for residents.
Last year, London expanded its Ultra-Low Emission Zone up to the North and South Circular ring roads. Birmingham and Bath also launched Clean Air Zones in their city centres.
This year, Greater Manchester and Bradford will introduce their own Clean Air Zones too.
Greater Manchester's Clean Air Zone will come into force on 20th May 2022 and will apply to drivers of buses, coaches, taxis, HGVs, PHVs and LGVs.
A date is yet to be announced for the Bradford Clean Air Zone.
The current daily charge for non-compliant vehicles varies for each area. If you regularly travel in these areas, it is worth using the ULEZ checker online to see if charges apply to your vehicle.
Government funding is available to help eligible people, businesses and organisations move to cleaner, compliant vehicles and not have to pay a daily charge.
The Clean Air Financial Support Scheme is currently open to applications from eligible heavy goods vehicle (HGV) owners, with applications for other vehicle owners due to open in late January 2022.
Three of the biggest Highway Code changes you should know about:
Those who pose the greatest risk to others have a higher level of responsibility to reduce the danger to others.
This principle applies most strongly to drivers of HGVs, LGVs, cars, taxis and motorcycles and aims to protect those more vulnerable, such as pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
“None of this detracts from the responsibility of ALL road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, to have regard for their own and other road users’ safety,” according to the rule change.
At a junction, drivers must give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road from which you are turning in to or out of.
Drivers will also have to give way to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing or zebra crossing (previously you only had to give way if they’re already on the crossing).
Drivers must give way to cyclists, horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles going ahead when turning in to or out of a junction or changing direction or lane. This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road.
Drivers should not turn at a junction if it would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse-drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve. Drivers must stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary.
The changes also introduce new advisory measures that are not legal requirements but could be drawn upon in court proceedings. Click here to read the full changes in the government's new updated Highway