We no longer support this web browser. Upgrade your browser for a better experience.

We’ve rounded up a few of the newest driving laws to make sure you’re up to speed with the latest rules of the road.
Macklin Motors

New UK Driving Laws You May Have Missed

New UK Driving Laws You May Have Missed

We’ve rounded up a few of the newest driving laws to make sure you’re up to speed with the latest rules of the road.

Driving laws are a subject of constant change in the UK, being reviewed every so often. With this, it’s no surprise that some of these updates may slip through your radar unnoticed.

That’s why we’re taking a look into four of the most recent updates you may need to be aware of.

Read on for all you need to stay in the know.

1. Using Mobile Phones

One of the most obvious driving offences you will be aware of is using your mobile phone. Though are you fully confident on what qualifies as mobile phone use?

Previously, drivers were not penalised for using their phones for ‘non-interactive’ purposes, like changing a song or taking a photo. However, revised legislation now means that using your phone in any form whatsoever – even unlocking it – falls under the offence.

Penalties for mobile phone use in Scotland, as in the rest of the UK, are six penalty points and a maximum fine of up to £1,000. Newer drivers who have passed their test in the last two years could even lose their licenses completely.

Those driving a lorry or passenger vehicle such as a bus will face a more severe fine of up to £2,500, as the offence is considered more serious.

A GOV.UK survey about overall phone use while driving in 2021 showed that in Scotland, 0.9% of all vehicle drivers were seen using a handheld phone, while for car drivers this was 0.7%.

While less common than in England, this shows that mobile phone use while driving is still a problem which needs to be dealt with more strictly.

According to the UK Government appeal THINK, drivers who use a phone while driving are four times more likely to end up in an accident, since their reactions will be slower.

Reaction times can be as much as 2 times slower if you text on a hands-free device while driving than if you drink drive.

With a car going 30mph travelling 100 feet in around 2.3 seconds, it’s vital to make sure your eyes are firmly on the road so you can react to potential hazards ahead of you and reduce the likelihood of getting into an accident.

In case you need a reminder; these are the only situations where you can use a handheld device while driving:

- If you are calling 999 or 112 for an emergency and are unable to stop

- When making a contactless payment at a drive-thru

- When parking your vehicle remotely using an app on your phone

In any of these scenarios, you should make sure you are safely parked before doing so, in order to minimise the risk of an accident.

2. Low Emission Zone (LEZs) Regulations

Low Emission Zones are in place in busier cities such as Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and seek to lower the concentration of nitrogen oxide (NOx) in the atmosphere from traffic pollution in the interest of public and environmental health.

These zones will charge drivers a fee for entering them which may vary depending on the type of vehicle you are driving and the duration of your stay.

Most LEZs apply mainly to public transport drivers and are yet to affect the general public, though it’s expected that this may change.

That’s why it is beneficial to keep up to date with LEZ regulations to determine whether you will be expected to pay these charges.

Low Emission Zones Scotland provides a handy vehicle checker which you can use to check whether you will have to pay congestion charges to enter these zones in your vehicle. Following four easy steps, you can check in minutes to make sure you are prepared.

With LEZs set to expand to affect all types of vehicles, part of the UK’s carbon-neutral goal, it’s important to be aware of these charges and especially pay them, otherwise you may face penalties.

3. Speed Limiters Required on All New Cars

Another change which took place over the summer was the introduction of a requirement for all new cars from 6th July 2022 to be fitted with speed limiter technology.

Speed limiters, as their name suggests, limit the speed a car can travel by restricting the power produced from the engine. This helps to prevent vehicles from travelling above the speed limit and is already used in large goods vehicles and passenger vehicles.

Commercial Vehicle Contracts explains there are two types of speed limiters, including Adjustable Speed Limiters and Intelligent Speed Assistants (ISA).

Adjustable Speed Limiters allow the driver to adjust the speed limit set depending on their preferences, whereas ISAs are more advanced, using a combination of GPS and traffic recognition to determine the speed limit of the road and adjust your speed accordingly.

These will also give you alerts in the form of the speed limit being displayed, and an alarm sounding to inform drivers when they are breaking the speed limit, while some even restrict your access on the accelerator so that you can’t physically go over the speed limit.

Any vehicles on the road from before the legislation came into force will have until 7th July 2024 to be updated and fitted with a speed limiter.

The introduction of speed limiters will help to provide drivers with a physical deterrent from breaking the limit, particularly routine offenders, and can even affect motorists’ insurance if they get into an accident and the data from the speed limiter shows that they were speeding.

4. Transportation of Goods Into Europe

New laws have also come into force surrounding the transportation of goods to and from Europe. Drivers of vehicles transporting goods or providing a public transport service such as shared-cost minibus trips will need to obtain a license for doing so.

This applies to vehicles entering the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, and will be required for drivers of goods vehicles, vans, and cars, including those towing a trailer.

Stay up to date with the latest rules of the road on our newsroom.