Driving laws have changed in 2019!

So, the world is changing and so are driving laws in Great Britain. While not a whole lot has changed, there are small things that you need to keep an account of. Here is what you need to be aware of if you are driving in Great Britain. 

Driving permits

 If you didn’t think Brexit would have a big impact on your life, perhaps there are small ways that it will affect some of the things you regularly do- like driving in nearby countries. Currently, if you have a Great Britain or Northern Ireland issued the driving license you can use it to drive in some of the European Union and European Economic Area countries if you intend to stay there for 12 months or less. 

However, if the United Kingdom ends up not being able to make a deal with the European Union (something that is still likely to happen), in the case of a no-deal Brexit, all British citizens will have to get an International Driving Permit to drive in European countries. The good news? 

You only have to pay £5.50 at the Post Office to get an international driving permit over the counter. You must have a valid UK driving license though. Additionally, you will require proof that your car is insured according to the regulations set by the country you are driving in, via a green card. The green card will be a means of assurance that you are at least minimally covered according to local laws. 

Paying Vehicle Excise Duty

There are now also new parameters for paying excise duty as inflation has raised it a notch. Cars that are more than 40 years old pay nothing while cars that were purchased/registered before March 2001 must pay according to the size of their engine. Cars from 1st March 2001 to before 1st April 2017 are required to pay tax according to the vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions. 

Cars that were registered on 1st April 2017 or later must pay only the first year based on their CO2 emissions. Afterwards, they are required to pay £145 per year. However, cars that do not produce any carbon dioxide emissions are exempted. Moreover, diesel cars that produce more emissions than the regular standard must pay approximately a band higher than the normal rate for their emissions. This means that most of vehicle excise duty is based on carbon dioxide emissions. 

If you drive an expensive car, over £40,000 to be exact, you must pay an additional £320 for the initial five years that your car is registered. Yikes, but then this is probably affordable for those that can afford a car over the mentioned figure! No big deal. 


London demands very low emissions

If you live in London, you have to be even more careful when driving in the ultra-low emission zone. You must ensure your car meets the minimum standards of low carbon dioxide emissions as the government is adamant on improving air quality. Otherwise, you must pay a daily charge. 

Vehicles including motorcycles up to 3.5 tonnes must pay £12.50 a day or £100 for those that are over 3.5 tonnes like lorries, buses, etc. 

2022 welcomes new car systems

April 2019 marked the beginning of an agreement that all cars manufactured in or after 2022 will be fitted with intelligent speed assistance systems that will help prevent car collisions. This will include systems that warn drowsy or distracted drivers that they are in danger of an accident. The cars will also be fitted with systems for emergency braking, assistance for staying in the correct lane, etc. 

All of these systems are bound to become essential soon. 

Driver control

If you are going to be applying for a driving license after 2019, it may be a tad bit more difficult. This is to improve road safety by putting some restrictions on new drivers and limiting the time that they drive and setting a curfew amongst other things. 

Other new regulations may include setting a limit on the number of other people that can passenger with a new driver, controlled speed limits, controlled alcohol limits, and also limiting the size of engines of vehicles that new drivers can drive. 

Of course, new drivers are also penalized more for using their mobile phone when driving than other drivers, so this serves as a reminder to all those freshly getting behind the wheel. 

Saving cyclists

Cyclists were given extra protection in March by ensuring vehicles remain a safe distance away on the road or face a £100 fine and 3 points on their license. The Highway Code will be under review soon to provide thorough information on how vehicles and cyclists can co-use highways. 

Specifications will be outlined and highlighted soon. 

That’s a wrap! Make sure you pay proper attention to these law changes and as usual, drive safely! 


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