6 new driving laws introduced during Covid lockdowns

Motorists are being warned about new driving laws which have been introduced during coronavirus lockdowns.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, rules over the use of mobile phones while driving have been tightened – with harsher penalties introduced.

There is also new laws for low emissions cars and changes to smart motorways which could land you with a £100 fine.

Motoring experts have shared the updated rules to make drivers aware of the changes.

The new rules are:

Stricter phone penalties

A legal loophole which allowed some people to dodge punishment for using your phone behind the wheel has now been sealed.

People were able to avoid prosecution when taking photos or videos when driving, but penalties for those caught have been introduced.

Now, any driver caught holding their phone or satnav whilst driving could receive a £200 fine and six points on their licence.

Smart Motorways

Smart motorways remain controversial and confusing for many motorists, but it is now illegal to drive in a lane which has a red X sign overhead.

If drivers are caught in a closed motorway lane, they could receive a fixed penalty of up to £100 and three points on their license.

In some more dangerous cases, stronger penalties are issued.

Clean Air Zones

Throughout 2021, major UK cities with high emissions will see the introduction of ‘Clean Air Zones’, which promotes electric and low-emission vehicles.

This means that there will be a daily charge to drive in certain areas when behind the wheel of less eco-friendly transport.

The first city to see these changes will be Birmingham.

By June, non-green motorists will have to pay £8 per day to drive anywhere within the A4540 Middleway ring-road.

Throughout the year, Bath, Oxford, Leeds and Bristol will also start introducing charges.

MOT changes

Vehicles requiring an MOT certificate could get a six-month extension at the height of the pandemic due to lockdowns.

This precedent has since ended, so all vehicles due an MOT will need them going forward.

There were updates to the MOT defect categories in 2020 and a variety of new vehicle checks were added.

These checks include under-inflated tyres, contaminated brake fluid and brake pad warning lights.

Newer cars will also have their reversing lights and daytime running lights checked.

Driving without a valid MOT certificate could see you land a £1,000 fine.

Driving in the EU

Whenever traveling abroad is permitted and less complicated due to isolation rules, it will be worth getting up to date on the new post-Brexit rules.

From now on, everyone in the UK need a green card, their logbook, and a GB sticker on their number plate.

The card will prove the vehicle is fully insured and drivers can obtain them through their insurance provider.

Green plates

Owners of electric and zero-emission vehicles can now purchase brand-new green number plates.

This is an initiative designed to help promote green vehicles by making them more visible to others on the road and those with these plates will be given special privileges, such as access to cheaper parking and free entry into Low-Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones.

Speaking about the changes, said: “Many car users have been off the road for the best part of the year, only using their vehicle to pop to the shop or grab something from the office.

“Whilst people have been out and about less over the last year, a few road rules have been added or updated.

“It is important to become familiar with them before setting off on any big trips to a different city or down the motorway.”


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