28 April 2022

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Several new laws and pieces of legislation have been introduced for motorists in 2022. Here are the changes.

Highway Code updates

An updated Highway Code came into effect in January, setting out new rules for road users and pedestrians.

The aim is to increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders by asking drivers to give these groups more consideration. It is particularly aimed at lorry drivers and drivers of other large vehicles who, according to the Highway Code, now have ‘the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger posed to other road users’.

In general, vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders will have right of way, with the changes being around which road users have priority at junctions and roundabouts. This has the intention of protecting those who are more vulnerable, such as cyclists and pedestrians.

There are other updates, including:

  • Leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph – and even more space when passing at higher speeds.
  • Pass horse and riders at speeds under 10mph, leaving at least 2 metres of space.
  • Keep to a low speed and leave at least 2 metres of space when passing a person walking in the road.

Cyclists are now allowed to ride in the centre of the road, or two abreast, for their own safety on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings, but should allow others to overtake where safe to do so.

You can find more detail on all the Highway Code changes here.

Stricter laws on mobile phone use

In March, much stricter laws came into force on the use of mobile phones, sat nav systems, tablets or any device that can send and receive data.

It means drivers must not use a device for any reason, whether online or offline, including texting, making calls, taking photos or videos, or browsing the web.

A driver can now receive six penalty points and a £200 fine if they hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send and receive data while driving or riding a motorcycle. If that driver passed their driving test in the last 2 years, they will also lose their licence.

The law still applies if drivers are stopped at traffic lights, queuing in traffic, supervising a learner driver, driving a car that turns off the engine when it stops moving, or if the driver is holding and using a device that’s offline or in flight mode.

Hands free access is still allowed. This could mean using a headset, voice control, built-in infotainment, or the phone is held in a cradle or dashboard mounted – if it doesn’t block the driver’s view of the road.

Clean Air Zones launched in 2022

Several Clean Air Zones (CAZs) have come into effect, or are planned to launch, in the UK this year. These are:

February

Oxford

The daily charge in the Oxford Zero Emission Zone is £2 for any vehicle emitting less than 75g/km CO2, and £4 for those of Euro 4/IV petrol or Euro 6/VI diesel standard. For other vehicles, the cost is £10. There is no charge for zero emission vehicles.

May

Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow

The Scottish Government is aiming to introduce Low Emission Zones (LEZs) into Scotland’s four biggest cities by 31 May 2022.

It is anticipated that there will be a grace period before enforcement begins from mid-2023 in Glasgow and from mid-2024 in Aberdeen, Dundee, and Edinburgh.

To find out which vehicles will need to pay, click here

Spring

Bradford

A CAZ is intended to be launched in Bradford in Spring 2022. Passenger cars and motorbikes will not have to pay, but to find out if your commercial vehicles will incur charges, click here.

July

Newcastle, Gateshead, and North Tyneside

Buses, coaches, taxis, heavy goods vehicles, and vans that don’t meet the required emissions standards will have to pay charges in Newcastle from July 2022. To find out the qualifying emissions standards, click here.

Summer

Bristol

Older and more polluting vehicles will have to pay a daily charge to enter Bristol city centre from Summer 2022, starting at £9 for private cars and rising to £100 for HGVS and buses.

To check qualifying vehicles, click here

Late Summer

Sheffield

Sheffield intends to launch a CAZ in late Summer 2022, but charges will not start until 2023. Private cars will not be charged, but it will cost £10 per day for LGVs and taxis, and £50 per day for coaches, buses and HGVs, that do not reach emission standards.

Keep up to date with other changes

It’s important to keep up to date with the new motoring regulations to avoid any impact on your business if you or your drivers are unaware of changes made. We’ll also continue to keep you updated through the News and Insights section of our website. Also, follow us on our social channels Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on industry news.

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