Four driving laws motorists should look out for

From stricter phone rules to low emission zones, don’t be caught out by new motoring rules

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Wednesday 30 November 2022 10:51 GMT
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Related: Lorry driver swears at police as he’s caught driving with mobile phone without seatbelt

Motorists have been urged to be familiar with new driving laws that have been rolled out this year, including stricter rules against the use of mobile phones.

Drivers are also being cautioned to be aware of clean air zones on their journey and to ensure their vehicle has the required permissions to avoid a fine.

A spokesperson for leasing company LeaseCar.uk said: “It is really important for all drivers to keep an eye out on the changes to motoring rules this summer. No one wants to be landed with a fine or severe driving penalty by simply not staying updated on new regulations.

“The government and local councils have both introduced further rulings to help improve air quality in city centres, as well as the general road safety for all users - two areas which have become increasingly more recognised to implement measures of change.

“Stay up-to-date with the latest updates and regulations of the Highway Code this summer to avoid fines and driving sanctions, and help to keep fellow drivers, cyclists and pedestrians safe.”

Here are four laws changes drivers should be aware of, after being rolled out this year:

Low Emission Zones

Low Emission Zones (LEZ) are schemes typically implemented in cities to manage pollution.

If a vehicle does reach the minimum standard for emissions, it will be charged for entering the zone.

Several cities in the UK have already introduced the scheme such as London, Brighton and Birmingham with many to follow including Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh over the next few years.

Failure to pay the daily charges for a vehicle entering the LEZ will result in heavy penalties.

Mobile Phone Usage

Driving laws regarding mobile phones were tightened in March this year however, many are unaware and still caught out by the stricter rules.

According to the Highway Code, you must not hold and use a phone “for any reason” while driving or riding a motorcycle, even if you are stopped at traffic lights or in a queue. This also applies to sat navs and tablets.

There are some exceptions to this rule, however. You are allowed to use a device held in your hand if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency, and it not safe or practical to stop the car. Additionally, you can use a hand-held device if you are safely parked, or if you are stopped at a drive-through restaurant and making a contactless payment on your phone.

Hands-free devices are generally allowed, although they must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.

If you are caught holding and using your phone while driving, you risk six penalty points and a £200 fine.

Speed Limiters

In a little-known rule that announced this summer, all new cars are now required to be have a speed limiter.

The device is fitted on cars and works by restricting the engine power, limiting the speed of the car.

However, it is still the responsibility of the driver to stay within the road’s speed limits.

Transporting goods into Europe

Drivers will need a licence to carry goods or people that are for hire or reward – such as shared-cost group minibus trips – into the EU or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The standard international goods vehicle licence will be required for light good vehicles, vans, and cars/vans towing trailers.

This article was amended on November 28 2022. It previously referred to a total mobile phone ban for motorists, but did not make it clear that this related to hand-held devices. The article also inaccurately referred to the mobile phone changes being made in September, when in fact the law changed in March 2022.

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