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Jan

19

/ 2022

Motoring Laws and Regulations 2022

As we welcome in the new year, we also welcome in a sea of change around the rules and regulations on the roads. And since AVL are specialists in all things cars, vans, and road traffic law, we thought we’d let you in on some of the biggest changes to UK driving laws in 2022.

We’ll take you on a regulation-based journey, looking at everything from the new Highway Code hierarchy, speed limiters on new cars, council authority, and even EV charging stations, so you can stay out of trouble on the roads.

Let’s start with the Highway Code, and the changes being implemented for 2022.

Highway Code Changes 2021 – 2022

For those who don’t know, the Highway Code is a set of rules motorists and other road users use. It’s designed to ensure that everybody is safe and singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak, to reduce incidences on the road.

Within the Highway Code, there’s something known as the hierarchy, which determines priority and right of way when walking or driving on British roads. In 2022, the Highway Code hierarchy has seen an amendment, emphasising pedestrians, cycling enthusiasts, and other road users.

The Highway Code hierarchy now looks like this:

  1. Pedestrians 
  2. Cyclists
  3. Horse Riders
  4. Motorcyclists
  5. Cars and taxis
  6. Vans and minibuses
  7. HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles) and LPV (large passenger vehicles)

What this means for the general road user is that pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders now have more priority, so you should give them right of way if they are crossing or using roads you’re joining or are already on.

The reasoning behind this is that in terms of safety, the lighter you are, the more vulnerable you are. This means that any person in heavier, and therefore more dangerous automobiles, should look out for you. It’s all about making the vulnerable safer essentially and putting more responsibility on drivers.

Make sense? Let’s move on to mobile phones.

Tightening Mobile Phone Restrictions

Unfortunately, using mobile phone behind the wheel is still a source of major concern on the roads. It accounts for a massive amount of injury and even death in this country, and it’s something the government take extremely seriously. For this reason, laws and regulations have been tightened around the use of mobile phones for drivers. 

While at the moment, British law states that you cannot make a text or call behind the wheel, even if your car is stationary, 2022 brings with it even tougher rules. These include being restricted from taking photos or videos whilst in control of a car or van, as well as playing games or scrolling through your phone menus or social media platforms.

The penalty for breaking the law in this respect will land you with a £200 spot fine as well as 6 points on your licence. 

Using the sat-nav on your phone is still permitted, however, but it’s your responsibility to ensure that the phone is secured in a cradle or phone-holder and only used in hands-free mode. Contactless payments in areas like the drive-thru will still be permitted, too, as long as the car is stationary when you carry out the transaction and it’s safe to do so.

Price Walking Car Insurance to be Banned

One of the ways insurance companies get more out of their customers is something known as “price-walking”, which is the gradual increase of insurance premiums for existing customers. It’s common practice and not one that many people know about, but the Financial Conduct Authority do, and they aren’t happy with it. 

So, as of 2022, the FCA have decided to clamp down on “price-walking” to the extent of straight up banning it. Good news for drivers with existing insurance policies then, but not quite for those looking to switch suppliers or start a new car cover. This is because deals on new insurance plans are likely to be reduced or entirely scrapped in order to make up the shortfall created by these new measures. 

Council Authority for Drivers in 2022

As it stands, the police are the only figures of transport authority able to give out fines for traffic offences. This looks set to change in 2022, however, with the council being granted more authority in this arena.

The ability to hand out £70 fines for “moving traffic” offences is the first amendment to be rolled out, with councils being granted the same authority as police for things like poor turns in the road, stopping in yellow junctions, and more. Councils have always been able to distribute fines for driving in bus lanes and things of that nature, but the changes look set to broaden this scope and give more power to those on a local council level for more offences. 

Set to apply to 300 councils across England, the goal is to lessen the load on local police forces so they can handle more serious matters. However, there are those who worry the council might get a bit fine-happy, as opposed to the police. 

We will have to see how this one pans out over the course of 2022, and whether or not councils across the country can handle this new level of responsibility properly. 

EV Chargers in New Houses and Commercial Buildings

As of 2022, all new-build homes, houses, and commercial properties need to have one thing. Electric vehicle chargers. This is in line with the government’s pledge to ban the sale of petrol or diesel powered vehicles by the year 2030. 

The reasoning behind this one is that the more EV car charge points that are available around the country, the more people are likely to buy EVs in the first place, which makes sense. 

Black Box Speed Limiters 

Speeding is another massive problem, just like using the phone behind the wheel, and is one of the most common reasons for crashes and other incidents on the road. To tackle this ever-growing issue, back in 2019, the European Commission proposed speed limiters on new cars, which the European Parliament agreed upon. Plans are now firmly in place for 2022, and since the decision went through prior to Brexit, the changes will also apply to automobiles on British soil. 

The changes, specifically, mean that any car built after July 6, 2022, will have an Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) black box installed. Using GPS, the black box will make sure your car doesn’t break speed limits, according to the area you’re driving in.

Please note, however, that this only applies to cars and vans produced after July 6, 2022, and not those currently in development that won’t be finished until on or after that date. 

ULEZ, or Clean Air Zones, Across the Country

In London, you may have heard of a thing called “ULEZ”, which stands for Ultra-Low Emission Zone. If not, it’s essentially a clean air zone, and is an effort from the government to restrict the amount of harmful CO2 emissions in the city. Much like the congestion charge in place in some areas of Central London, it means that you’re charged an amount based on how many harmful emissions your automobile emits. Charges can be as much as £12.50 a day on top of the aforementioned congestion charges if your car isn’t up to scratch in terms of CO2 emissions. This applies to most cars manufactured before 2005. 

With expansion already taking place in 2021 affecting the North and South Circular ring roads, Greater Manchester have carried out consultations and look to roll out the practice in May 2022, with Birmingham clean air zones planned for June. Plans are also set to be introduced for Bradford, with a 2022 pilot taking place in Oxford, too. Bradford and Oxford are rolling out pilot schemes for something similar, and will join the likes of Gateshead, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Sheffield, and Bristol, who already have clean air zones in place. However, those don’t actually charge… Yet.

For the areas rolling out schemes in 2022, the charges will vary from £2 to £10, and coaches, buses, and other heavy goods vehicles will bear the brunt of the charges. Oh, and taxis.

 

Rebated and Red Fuel Bans

This one doesn’t apply to most drivers, in fact, red diesel or rebated fuel is generally only for commercial vehicles carrying out massive works of construction, such as cranes, bulldozers, and other automobiles of this nature. Red fuel is also fairly common with large-scale agricultural equipment you might find on a farm.

However, on April 1, 2022, both of these fuel types will be illegal in this country. As mentioned, this probably won’t affect you unless you’re in the agricultural or commercial industry, as no cars found on British motorways are powered by these kinds of fuels. 

Potential Law Changes

So, we’ve covered the core motoring laws that are either being introduced or have already been introduced. Now, let’s look at a couple of potential law changes when it comes to drivers. Some of these are in place with sketchy details, so we’ve included them, and others are completely theoretical at the time of writing.

Let’s kick things off with pavement parking.

Pavement Parking Ban

Parking on pavements can be a nuisance to dog walkers, general walkers, and those in wheelchairs or with other mobility issues. Doing so is already illegal in London and Scotland will officially ban all on-pavement parking from 2023, and England may follow suit as we head into 2022.

This change will see councils given the power to hand out £70 fines to those parking on pavements around the entire country, rather than just in London. The plans are still being debated however, so nothing is set in stone just yet.

DVLA Medical Questionnaires 

At the moment, only doctors can judge whether or not you are fit to drive based on medical conditions. The government are looking to change this, however, with the possibility of nurses being able to carry out checks and conduct medical questionnaires for drivers.

This is in an effort to improve processes at the DVLA, making things simpler and more effective for everybody, particularly doctors. It’s not being rolled out officially, but there’s been lots of talk about it in the government. 

Car Tax Changes 2021 to 2022

Vehicle Excise Duty, also known as VED or road tax, is definitely set to increase in 2022. Whilst the new rates haven’t been confirmed by the government, they will be based on your car or van’s emissions and increase based on how many CO2 emissions your car releases per KM travelled. 

Costs vary from hundreds to thousands a year, based on your car, and road tax looks set to be based more and more on how eco-friendly your car is, rather than anything else. 

This isn’t a potential change, as it will definitely happen, but it’s quite clear by how much just yet.

Fuel duty looks set to remain the same, however, as it has done for the past decade. Petrol prices aren’t quite the same though, as they continue to rise at record levels.

Regulations That Are Staying the Same

There are rules and regulations of the road that are staying the same, too, including UK car modification laws such as window tinting and lights. UK car window tint remains unchanged in 2022, in that rear side and rear windscreens have no restrictions, and windscreen tint laws vary based on when the car was first used.

UK regulations on car lights also stays the same, with no red or green lights on the front or back of your car or van and no outside strips or bulbs, flashing or spinning lights or inside LED lights allowed. 

Car seat laws are also in place and don’t look set to change in 2022, with children below the age of 12 or 135cm tall having to use a child seat, generally speaking. Dogs in cars law UK also hasn’t changed, with The Highway Code stating that all dogs (and other animals) need to be “suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly”. 

Car or Van Hire with AVL

While there’s lots of change in the air as we enter 2022, our devotion to customer service and providing you with the best deals on car and van leasing remains the same. 

We do, however, have leasing special offers on our website, with updates that change on a regular basis, and we also have a massive range of cars and vans available online to lease today. 

Browse our website to find your perfect car or van, or get in touch with our friendly team of experts on 01642 793 444 to find out more information or to get some advice.