In 2020, we can expect to see some changes to the law regarding road traffic and motoring. We’ve outlined some of them below, allowing you to stay informed and alter any driving habits to avoid incurring fines or penalties whilst you’re on the road.
The new smart motorway network is expected to cover 488 miles by April, bringing with it some changes that motorists need to be aware of in order to use these motorways safely.
With speed cameras in operation on each lane of the smart motorway, there are already fines issued to motorists who exceed the speed limit. However, this year may see the enforcement of stronger penalties, and motorists could expect to receive a fine for driving in a closed lane also.
New this year, car models in the UK are to be fitted with intelligent speed assist (ISA) systems. Developed for the safety of drivers and passengers on the road, the technology features smart cameras which observe and interpret road signs in order to adjust the vehicle’s operation, including limiting the speed that the vehicle is able to reach.
ISA systems are set to become mandatory features in new cars from 2022, with some car manufacturers proposing to introduce them to their production line sooner. Others, such as Volvo, have announced that, from this year, all new cars will have a top speed capability restricted to 112mph.
In the interests of reducing the country’s carbon emission figures, a new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was introduced to Central London in April of last year. This saw restrictions being placed on certain high-emission vehicles, and the plan is for the zone to be extended to encompass all of inner London next year. The ULEZ replaces the T-charge scheme and involves drivers of high-emission vehicles having to pay a charge in order to drive within the zone.
Similar Ultra Low Emission Zones are said to be under consideration for introduction this year to a number of cities around the UK, including Leeds, Newcastle, Cardiff and Edinburgh, with a confirmed ULEZ being launched in Birmingham this July.
With Britain set to leave the EU, government guidelines have warned drivers that they may need an international driving permit in order to drive legally whilst abroad in EU countries following Brexit.
A ban on pavement parking has been in place in London for over 40 years. However, over the course of this year and next, motorists are to expect the ban to be rolled out further across the UK, potentially with stricter penalties in place.
The Road Traffic Department at DRN Solicitors accept instructions from across the United Kingdom. Keith Rennison explains: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, clients want to instruct a firm they know and trust, rather than an unknown quantity. Our fee earners have advanced special reasons and exceptional hardship arguments nationwide. In an area that is not often covered by Legal Aid, people want to pay for an expert service. Our solicitors have decades of experience between them and can provide honest and efficient advice.”
If you are at risk of disqualification for repeated offences, speak to a qualified lawyer today. S35(1) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 sets out the minimum periods of disqualification for repeated offences. If the penalty points to be taken into account number 12 or more a minimum disqualification will follow unless the court is satisfied, having regard to all the circumstances, that there are grounds for mitigating the normal consequences of the conviction. The court can order an offender be disqualified for a shorter period or not at all.
“If there are mitigating circumstances, the court does not necessarily have to disqualify for the minimum period. This can mean that there is no disqualification, or one that is shorter than the minimum.”
Need assistance? Call us today on 01282 433241 for further advice.
As the colder months set in and the weather takes a turn, decreasing temperatures and bouts of snow and heavy rainfall are predicted to hit towns and cities across the nation. Should you be required to drive in such adverse weather conditions, it’s important that all necessary precautions are taken in order to ensure your own safety, and the safety of those around you.
We’ve compiled a short list of winter driving tips which, if adopted, will help you to avoid becoming involved in an accident on the road.
Preparation is key when it comes to staying safe on winter roads. In order to reduce the risk and dangers associated with winter driving, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself and your vehicle before you commence your journey.
Taking preventative measures such as having your car checked by a qualified mechanic or approved repair facility before you hit the road will help to reduce the risk of breakdown whilst you’re out and about.
With modern-day technology, weather reports are more accurate than ever. Before you make your trip, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast, not only for your current location but also for the location you’re headed to, particularly if your journey is to be a long-distance one. This will allow you to see if any bad weather is likely to affect your trip and, if so, make adjustments to your plans – you might decide to set off earlier in order to ensure your estimated arrival time is met or, if the weather is set to be really bad, you might decide to cancel your plans altogether and rearrange them for a time when the roads may be less hazardous.
Although it’s unlikely that you will be forced to wait for hours for a tow truck or vehicle repair service following a breakdown, it never hurts to be prepared! Consider putting together a pack of essentials to keep in your car at all times, just in case. Your pack might include blankets, food and water, warm clothing, a torch, a glass scraper, a small shovel and any medication you’re currently taking. This way, the pressure is alleviated slightly should you find yourself in unfortunate circumstances.
When driving in poor conditions, it’s important that your tyres are properly inflated and have plenty of tread. Consult your vehicle handbook for guidance on setting up the correct tyre pressure for your car, and consider visiting your local garage to have the tread checked on your tyres on a regular basis.
It’s always a good idea to keep your fuel tank topped up to ensure optimum performance for your vehicle, but in winter especially you should try not to let your fuel gauge dip below the half-way mark.
Automated features within vehicles, such as cruise control, do not always make allowances for poor driving conditions, particularly in extreme circumstances. Maintain control of your vehicle and be sure to switch cruise control off when the road surfaces are slippery.
Staying alert and driving with caution will allow you the extra time you may need to react to a hazard on the road. When the weather is bad, it’s always best to exercise caution.
If it’s not absolutely paramount that you drive, simply stay at home. Even if you handle poor weather well, it’s always best to avoid taking any unnecessary risks.
You should be conscious of your speed at any time of the year, but winter is the season when speeding or reckless driving could lead to more damaging or even fatal collisions. At this time of year, it’s particularly important to drive with consideration of others. Take things slowly, especially when driving on snow or ice, and be mindful to keep a safe distance between your car and the vehicle in front – if they stop or swerve, you need to have enough reaction time to do the same.
When there’s snow or ice on the road, it’s a bad time to be rushing. Rushing leads to reckless driving, which can lead to road traffic accidents. Be sure to set off early to allow yourself plenty of time to complete your journey, including time for any stops you may need to make along the way. It’s also important to remember to accelerate and decelerate slowly – erratic driving and poor conditions don’t mix well!
When driving in adverse weather conditions, try not to stop if you can avoid it, particularly if you’re travelling uphill. It’s also important not to press excessively hard on the accelerator when travelling uphill, as this can cause your wheels to spin and you could lose control of your vehicle.
If you do end up becoming stuck in the snow, be sure to follow these top tips:
As well as providing a temporary shelter for you and any fellow travellers, your vehicle also acts as a great marker – staying with your vehicle will make it easier for any rescuers to locate you.
If you need to dig your vehicle out of deep snow, remember to listen to your own body and stop when you become tired.
It’s a good idea to tie a bright piece of fabric to your antenna or to fix it in place in one of your windows as this will enable you to give your rescuers a clear indication of what they should be looking for. At night, consider keeping the lights inside your car switched on, as this only uses a small amount of electricity and will also help rescuers to spot you in the dark.
Check that the exhaust pipe is not blocked with snow, ice or mud, as this can cause carbon monoxide to leak through into the glove compartment of the vehicle whilst the engine is running. If your exhaust pipe is blocked, try your best to remove the blockage as soon as possible.
If it’s possible, try to turn the engine and heater off after they’ve done the job of removing the chill in the car, as this will help to conserve your fuel.
Have you been involved in a road traffic accident, or are you facing the loss of your license following a road traffic offence? The expert solicitors at DRN can help!
In the UK, Autumn 2018 saw a 15% increase in road traffic accidents compared to spring and summer, according to a report by a group of well-known accident claim solicitors. How did they know this? Well, we’d say that’s because more road users than ever before are taking to litigation and accident claims to resolve their issues, especially pedestrians and cyclists.
It can be dangerous out there for road users when the nights are longer and the conditions are more treacherous. Dark evenings mean it’s easier for dog walkers and joggers to be caught out without reflective gear on, and cyclists can be easily missed if their lights are dim or a driver is being blinded by an oncoming car’s full beam headlights.
There are ways to prevent accidents though. Read on to find out more.
As a driver, you’ll know that checking your mirrors and being aware of cyclists and other road users is vital, but in the darker mornings and evenings it’s even more important. Make sure your own lights are all fully functional including your fog lights, and that you’re giving plenty of room to other road users. Carry sunglasses in your car too – accidents often happen when the sun is shining over the road making it hard to see other road users.
As a cyclist, make sure that your lights are fully charged or the batteries aren’t running low so that they remain bright and visible. Wear bright, reflective clothing and remember to take the correct position in the road when turning or using a roundabout so that cars, vans and other road users can make room for you.
If you’re walking or jogging and using the roads during the darker hours of the morning and evening, be aware that your visibility is extremely reduced to drivers. Their cars may have steamed-up windows, they may have headlights reflecting on their windscreen and they might even just miss you.
Make yourself more visible with bright clothing and reflective strips on your arms, ankles and shoes. If you’re walking your dog, consider a light-up or glow in the dark collar to keep them safe and visible too. Also remember that in frosty and icy conditions, vehicles need more time to slow down and stop, so bear this in mind when crossing roads in cold weather.
If you’re in a road traffic accident as a driver or other road user, you may be eligible for compensation. If you have been injured and someone else is to blame, at DRN we have a team of expert personal injury lawyers who can advise you as to whether you have a claim. We will work closely with you to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
This service is absolutely no win, no fee, so that you have complete peace of mind.
If you’d like to talk to our expert team about our accident and personal injury claim services, call our Burnley office today on 01282 433241 or our Colne office directly on 01282 864500.
Keith Rennison from our Burnley office and Mr Tim Storrie of Lincoln House Chambers, Manchester have recently secured an acquittal in the case of R v I.
The case involved a prosecution for ill-treatment or neglect under s 44 Mental Capacity Act 2005. In simple terms, the case involved an allegation that the Defendant had care of a person who lacked capacity and subsequently they were guilty of ill-treatment or wilful neglect.
Mr Rennison explained, “this was a complicated case. The investigation stage took approximately two years and had serious implications for the Defendant’s career. In certain circumstances an application to dismiss can be made prior to a trial commencing. We were able to persuade the Court that taking the Crown’s case at it’s highest, there was insufficient evidence to put before a jury.”
Mr Rennison can be contacted on 01282 433241 or firstname.lastname@example.org