New UK driving laws to look out for in 2020
While the motor industry gear up for the inevitable shift towards a world of electric vehicles, powered roads and who knows what other tech wizardry, the reality for most drivers in 2020 is another year of traffic congestion, speed cameras and rising fuel costs - plus the usual raft of new legislation to get used to. Here are a few of the forthcoming changes in UK driving law to keep an eye on.
Low emissions legislation continues to be rolled out across the UK, with Birmingham and Leeds among the cities mandated to follow London in introducing Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) with charges levied for driving in the city centres. The Birmingham scheme will see fees from £8 per day for car and van drivers, rising to £50 a day for higher-pollution vehicles such as HGVs, coaches and buses.
Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which will cover all the roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the Middleway itself, is due to launch in July 2020. The Leeds scheme, delayed after objections from the local taxi trade, could become active around the same date. Nottingham, Derby and Southampton have also been mandated to introduce clean air zones, with Newcastle, Brighton, Cardiff and Edinburgh are among those considering similar schemes.
London’s clean air zone yielded £40 million revenue in its first six months, with approximately a quarter coming from fines, which range from £250 (For vehicles from 1.205 tonnes up to 3.5 tonnes gross, when paid within fourteen days) rising to a possible £2000 for larger vehicles. By 2021 the central London ULEZ is expected to be extended to all of inner London.
Banning pavement parking was another London first, with contraventions leading to a potential Penalty Charge Notice. Blind and partially sighted people and parents with pushchairs are among those campaigning to see the ban adopted nationwide. In September 2019 the MPs of the Government Transport Committee added their voices to the call for a blanket ban.
Despite controversy surrounding the introduction of Smart Motorways, with the Automobile Association (AA) among those questioning their safety, Highways England are still planning to extend the network, so expect more miles without hard shoulders to cry on. There will, however, be more ERAs (Emergency Refuge Areas) to shelter in should you, or your car, break down.
Cars, too, will become ‘smarter’, with Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA) systems fitted in new UK cars from this year and mandatory on all new vehicles by 2022 under EU regulations. ISA uses in-car camera technology to ‘read’ road signs and limit a vehicle’s speed accordingly.
Finally, it still remains to be seen precisely how Brexit will affect UK drivers. A ‘no deal’ - still a possibility - will, according to government guidance, mean UK licences will most likely be no use on the continent. International permits for visitors will be available at Post Office fro £5.50. For travel in the EU or EEA you would also need to contact your insurance company a month in advance, to get an insurance green card.
If you should find yourself on the wrong side of these, of any other driving laws, and need expert legal assistance, contact NGP Driving Lawyers any time on 020 8309 5010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.