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Knowing the rules of the road can be important to make sure you aren’t greeted by a police officer unexpectedly on your journey. Here are some recent changes you should be aware of.
Bristol Street Motors

Are You Up To Speed With The Rules of the Road? Some Recent Changes

Are You Up To Speed With The Rules of the Road? Some Recent Changes

Knowing the rules of the road can be important to make sure you aren’t greeted by a police officer unexpectedly on your journey. Here are some recent changes you should be aware of.

Road laws are a subject of constant change, which is why changes however small often go unnoticed among motorists.

Being aware of these changes can help you to avoid trouble on the roads and reduce the risk of getting fines or points on your license.

Worth it, right?

Read on for some of the changes you may have missed, which simply being aware of could save you a whole lot of hassle.

Using Handheld Devices

Hopefully, you will in fact be aware that it’s an offence to use a mobile phone while you’re behind the wheel. It’s one of the most widely known rules of the road yet still one of the most often broken ones.

Why? Because some motorists fail to realise the ever-widening coverage of this law in terms of what qualifies as using your phone.

Previously, changing the song playing on your phone or taking a photo wasn’t considered under the offence, with these being regarded as ‘non-interactive’ purposes. It was only an offence if you were caught openly texting or talking to someone on a handheld device.

Now, however, the law is tightening to cover any usage of a handheld device whatsoever. Even the simple act of unlocking it.

The Government’s road-safety appeal, THINK, shows just how much the risk of an accident increases when using a mobile phone while driving.

Drivers who use a handheld device while driving are four times as likely to get into an accident. Even using hands-free technology comes with its risks.

When using hands-free technology to text or call while driving, your reaction times are two times slower than that of drink driving. This means the risk is even more deadly.

Just a glimpse into why using a mobile phone while driving has long been considered a serious road safety offence.

The only times when you could possibly be excused for using a phone while driving include:

- When calling 999 or 112 for help in an emergency if you aren’t able to stop

- When making a contactless payment while visiting a drive-thru

- When remotely parking your vehicle using an app

In any of these cases, you should try to make sure your vehicle is safely parked before doing so.

Expansion of Low Emission Zones (LEZs)

Low Emission Zones are in place in many busier cities such as London, Brighton, and Birmingham to tackle traffic pollution. Particularly levels of nitrogen oxide (NOX) which can be harmful to both public and environmental health.

These will charge some vehicles entering them which may vary depending on the type of vehicle and the duration of its visit.

Currently, these mainly affect buses and taxis with the exclusion of London. Though recent changes mean that Low Emission Zone charges are expected to expand to include all types of vehicles – including cars.

Being aware of LEZ charges is important as if you fail to pay them you could face an added fine. Thankfully, there’s a simple way to check before entering these zones if the charges will apply to your vehicle.

You can use the Transport for London’s online vehicle checker for this, and simply typing in your registration or vehicle type will allow you to check this within minutes.

Speed Limiters Required on All New Cars

In an effort to tackle the ongoing issue of speed-breaking on UK roads, speed limiters will also be introduced on all new cars.

This new rule came into force on 6th July 2022 and means that any new car will need to be fitted with one of these devices.

Previously, speed limiters were usually fitted on large goods vehicles and public transport such as buses. Now, it will affect everyday drivers, including yourself.

Speed limiters are devices which limit the amount of power produced by the engine, therefore limiting the speed of your vehicle.

Commercial Contract Vehicles explains there are two types of speed limiters used, including Adjustable Speed Limiters and Intelligent Speed Assistants (ISAs).

Adjustable Speed Limiters are less restrictive in that they allow the driver to adjust the speed limiter according to their preference. This is so they don’t go over a certain limit.

Intelligent Speed Assistants, however, are more advanced. They use a combination of GPS data and traffic recognition technology to determine the speed limit of the road, restricting power accordingly to meet that limit.

Some will give the driver a visual alert displaying the speed limit to remind the driver when they are travelling above it. An alarm may also sound to notify the driver that they need to slow down.

Any vehicles purchased before the date of the new legislation will have until 7th July 2024 to have a speed limiter fitted.

Goods Transportation into Europe

New rules have also came into effect for those transporting goods into Europe. Any vehicle, from goods vehicles, vans and cars, to those towing trailers, will be required to have an official license for transporting goods.

This is now in place in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, and is known as the standard international goods vehicle license.

Stay road-ready with all your latest motoring updates on our newsroom.