New driving laws and rules coming into force this month
A number of new or amended driving laws will come into force this month – and drivers will be hit with points if they fail to adhere to these rules.
The changes include electric car parking fines, more clean air zones and amendments to the Highway Code itself.
And 12 councils across the UK have now been handed traffic powers, some of which come into force this month.
New measures are being introduced too, to help protect young drivers on the roads. One of these approaches, called a “graduated driving licence”, has already enjoyed success abroad, experts say.
Here are a number of new changes coming this month, as reported by Chronicle Live.
Fuel tanker consultation
The Government is currently consulting on the potential for allowing fuel tankers to carry more fuel, with the exiting 44-tonne weight limit currently in place.
The initiative was initially launched in response to the fuel crisis of 2022, in which, drivers across the nation were left with massive disruption to supplies.
The consultation will run until May 17, with the Department for Transport accepting feedback until 11.45pm.
Newly passed youngsters under the age of 25 may soon be stopped from carrying passengers under the same age limit in their vehicles to boost road safety. The proposed move would see a ‘graduated driving licence’, restricting fresh-faced motorists from certain activities for a set, short timeframe.
Experts have dubbed the potential move a probationary period for youngsters, which could benefit all road users and reduce the risk of accidents. Further talks with regards to the plan are set to be debated by Transport Minister Richard Holden come May 16, at a road safety meeting.
Speaking previously Seb Goldin, CEO of RED Driver Training, said: “We know that people of all ages rely on the freedom that driving provides, and graduated driving licencing risks placing restrictions on this. However, data shows that in countries where graduated driving licencing is in effect, it is being received well and, in an environment where incidents on our roads are commonplace, taking steps to reduce the risks of death and serious injuries is a protocol we support.
“Road safety remains our ultimate concern, and this probationary period for drivers who are more likely to be involved in an incident allows us to prioritise this even further.”
New council powers
Twelve councils across the UK have now been handed traffic powers – which allow them to fine drivers for offences only previously dealt with by police.
In May, Surrey Council will start monitoring yellow box junctions, potentially handing down fines of up to £70 for offenders. Reading and Hampshire council meanwhile will also receive similar powers come ‘spring 2023’. Elsewhere, Derby City, Buckinghamshire and Norfolk council have each received powers of their own – although it remains unknown as to which areas will be monitored.
The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate is set to promote the uptake of electric vehicles, ensuring that manufacturers are meeting strict targets to build new EVs before the petrol and diesel new car ban of 2030. A consultation was launched back in March to explore possibilities into how the mandate will work – including the impact on businesses, and if exemptions are necessary for certain manufacturers.
The consultation for the mandate’s final design, as well as the CO2 emissions regulation will close May 24 at 11.45pm.
Highway Code changes
Changes made to Highway Code recently, and likely to have an impact in May, include the legislation making it clear that drivers caught using or even holding their phones will receive a fine of up to £200 and six points on their licence.
It is now completely illegal for those who are driving to hold or use their mobile phones, sat navs, tablets and any other devices that can send and receive data.
Drivers who run out of fuel and obstruct traffic were recently warned they could be slapped with a £100 fine and points on their licence.
Electric car owners also risk being caught out if their battery runs flat and they block a road.
Drivers were also told last month they risk fines of up to £10,000 and 12 penalty points on their licence – and thus a road ban – unless they check their tyres are legally roadworthy.
Motorists must also remember in May that the Highway Code clearly states that objects must not block any view of the road, as the windscreen has to be kept free from any obstructions to vision.