In 2019, we’ve already seen a number of changes to driving laws which could affect you or your employees. The rules have been changed to improve safety, but they also include changes to punishments if you break them.
In this article, we’re going to quickly run through the changes so you know what you can and can’t do:
Changes to Car Tax
Car Tax increased in April, in line with inflation. Drivers may face an increase of between £5 and £65. Cars that produce 0g/km of CO2 emissions and cost under £40,000 are exempt from tax.
Civil Liability Act
The main motor-related update to the Civil Liability Act involves changes to Whiplash claims. New regulations, set to be introduced in August 2020, will provide a tariff of the levels of compensation payable for different severities of whiplash. Whiplash claims currently add around £90 to the average motor insurance premium. Under these reforms, the maximum fixed tariff for a whiplash injury is set at £3,275.
There’s also been an update to the code which details the changes made to MOT requirements in 2018 (new categories for cars; Dangerous, Major, Advisory, and Pass and drivers must be aware of new checks for things like under-inflated tyres and contaminated brake fluid.
Cyclist deaths from road accidents are unfortunately all too common. It’s clear that on too many occasions, drivers and cyclists aren’t paying enough attention to the actions of the other.
In the Highway Code, it has recommended that drivers leave 4ft 11in between themselves and cyclists when overtaking. This has now been updated to include fines and points for drivers who ‘dangerously’ overtake cyclists.
Police forces around the UK have started issuing £100 fines, and even pushing for prosecutions, for those drivers who aren’t leaving a safe gap when overtaking.
In 2019, the government plans to introduce £100 penalties for drivers caught using lanes marked ‘x’ on smart motorways. There’s a likelihood that any driver issued with the fine will collect three points on their license as well.
Graduated Driving License
A GDL scheme is being piloted in Northern Ireland in 2019/20 and will see new drivers given time-limited restrictions on their license. The restrictions may include curfews on the times they’re allowed on the road, speed limitations, passenger limitations and lower blood alcohol level allowances.
The government have talked about testing such a scheme for a while and they already operate in the US, Australia and New Zealand. If the scheme works, expect it to be rolled out across the rest of the UK in the near future.