Are you up to speed on the new driving laws that came into force this month?
Motorists are urged to brush-up on the Highway Code as several new rules were introduced in May – and not knowing some of them could land you hit with a fine.
Updates include changes to electric car parking, tougher rules on using mobile phones and new regulations around clean air zones.
Younger drivers could also be affected by some proposed amendments to the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act, but these are not yet in force.
So here are some of the Highway Code tweaks introduced in May
Regulations in the Highway Code are changing, as motorists are being urged to brush up on their driving knowledge (File image)
Regulations in the Highway Code are changing.
Previously, motorists who used their phone at the wheel could be fined up to £200 and earn six points on their driving licence.
But tougher rules have now come into force, making it illegal for drivers on the roads to use their phones, or any other electronic device – such as a sat nav or tablet.
Those caught can be taken to court where they face being banned from driving or riding get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if they were driving a lorry or bus).
Motorists who run out on fuel while driving and obstruct traffic can also face £100 fine and points on their licence.
This penalty has been extended to electric car drivers. Owners are now also at risk of being caught out if their battery runs flat and they block a road.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate
The government has shared details of its planned Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate. This would ensure that care manufacturers sell a percentage of zero-emission machines, such as electric cars, in a bid to promote the uptake of electric vehicles.
The mandate has been implemented to also ensure 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, which explored how the mandate will work. This included the impact on businesses, and whether exemptions are necessary for certain manufacturers.
The consultation for the mandate’s final design, as well as the CO2 emissions regulations closed on May 24.
Fuel tanker consultation
The permission for fuel tankers to carry more fuel was considered and consulted. This came following the fuel crisis in 2022 (File image)
The Government has been consulting on the potential for allowing fuel tankers to carry more fuel, with the exiting 44-tonne weight limit currently in place.
This was an initiative that was initially launched as a response to the fuel crisis of 2022, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It saw drivers across the nation left with massive disruption to supplies.
The consultation ran until May 17.
New council powers
Across the UK, 12 councils have been handed traffic powers – allowing them to fine drivers for offences that were previously only dealt with by police.
This month, Surrey County Council started monitoring yellow box junctions – potentially handing down fines of up to £70 for offenders.
And Derby City, Buckinghamshire and Norfolk councils have each received powers of their own – although it remains unknown which areas they will monitor.
Meanwhile, Reading and Hampshire councils have said that they will receive similar powers in the springtime.
Propsoed changes that could will affect younger drivers
Drivers under the age of 25 may not be able to carry young passengers under a ‘graduated driving license’ to combat peer pressure deaths.
New restrictions would see amendments made to the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act to ban passengers under the age of 25 in a driver’s first year or six months.
The Act already bans drivers if they get six points in their first two years of driving.
It has been backed by Support for Victims of Road Crashes – an advisory to the Department of Transport – and National Police Chief’s Council Roads Policing lead Jo Shiner.
Further talks with regards to the plan were debated by Transport Minister Richard Holden on May 16.