Driving isn’t just about passing your test and doing the actual driving part. You need to understand the rules and keep up to date with the latest motoring laws too.
Luckily for you, we’re going to tell you everything that’s changing or coming into action in 2021 and beyond. And if you want to evade a hefty fine and keep your license clean, read carefully and take notes.
Let’s get going.
1. Brexit motoring laws
Brexit may seem like a thing of the past, but the effects are only just starting to show. And one of them is a new motoring law affecting UK drivers driving in the EU.
Because we’re no longer part of the EU, British drivers driving in the EU must:
- Carry a physical copy of a green card (which you can get from your insurer)
- Carry a driving license
- Have a GB sticker on the rear of their vehicle (unless the number plate is GB stamped).
If your trip is less than a year-long, you’ll also need to keep your V5C logbook in the glove box. And some countries require you to take out an international permit, so make you check well ahead of when you travel.
2. Mobile phone motoring law
It’s been illegal to use your mobile phone while driving since 2003. But until now, there was a loophole that allowed drivers to take photos and videos while behind the wheel.
Under new rules, it’s illegal to use your mobile phone for any purpose while driving — even if you’re stationary. This includes flicking through a playlist or scrolling through social media.
If you break this law, you could find yourself £200 out of pocket with six points on your license.
3. MOT extension period
Booking an MOT test in 2020 was tough, often impossible. To help, the government extended the period for any vehicles whose MOTs were due between March 31 2020 and July 31 2020.
The maximum extension was only for six months though, until the end of January 2021, which has now passed. Meaning any car that’s due for an MOT must book now.
It’s illegal to drive your car without an MOT, and it can lead to hefty fines. If your vehicle needs an MOT, get in touch with your local First Stop garage.
4. New clean air zones
If you’re a Londoner, you’ll be familiar with clean air zones. Though there are a few changes for 2021, and some new cities (finally) introducing clean air zones.
First, the boundaries for both London’s Low Emissions Zone (UEZ) and Ultra-low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) are about to be expanded. And the new laws will mean that hybrid cars are no longer exempt from London’s congestion charge.
The ULEZ has the strictest emissions standards and is in force 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So it’s worth knowing your stuff if you drive in and around London. You can learn about the changes here.
London isn’t the only city introducing changes to its clean air zones. Here are the other changes:
- Oxford: Zero Emissions Zone will come into effect in the summer of 2021
- Bath: Clean Air Zone was introduced in March 2021
- Bristol: A clean air zone will come into effect in spring 2021
- Birmingham: Birmingham’s Low Emission Zone will come into effect in June 2021
5. Automatic Lane Keeping System
You’re probably looking at the screen thinking, “what on earth!”. But the truth is, Automatic Lane Keeping System (ALKS) is something all motorists will see and hear a lot more of come spring/summer 2021.
As its name suggests, ALKS helps keep a car in its lane. When turned on, the system controls the vehicle — left and right and forwards and backwards — without the driver needing to do anything. During this time, the system is in primary control, and will perform driving tasks at low speeds on motorways.
Depending on the results from a safety test, we could see ALKS in all cars soon.
6. New green number plates
Green number plates are now legal in the UK for zero-emissions cars. The new green number plate makes these vehicles more visible, helping owners take advantage of cheaper parking and special zero-emissions zones.
If you have a zero-emissions vehicle, it might be worthwhile considering a green number plate. You can read more about it here.
7. Speed limiters
Here’s one for 2022.
It will be mandatory for all new cars from 2022 to have a speed limiter, aka, Intelligent Speed Assistance system (ISA) fitted.
The ISA will use video or GPS to detect speed signs, and alert the driver if they’re driving above the speed limit. If the driver doesn’t slow down, the tech will take over and do it for you. But rather than affect the car’s braking system, the vehicle will reduce power to the engine instead.
If you’re buying a new car from 2022, expect it to have a speed limiter.
So that’s everything. Now that you’re clued up on the latest motoring laws, you can drive with peace of mind. But remember, it’s illegal to drive without an MOT, so get booked in as soon as possible to avoid a fine or points on your license. Click here to locate your nearest First Stop garage.