Driving law changes in 2022
2022 is set to be a big year for changes to the laws around road traffic and motoring. Whilst some of the changes have already been made, such as the updates to the Highway Code that were recently announced, there are a number of other new rules set to come into play throughout the course of this year that you may not already be aware of. Here’s a brief overview of some of the driving law changes we can expect to see in 2022.
Changes to the Highway Code
In January this year, the UK Government made changes to the Highway Code in order to prioritise the safety of vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians. One of the biggest changes made was to the hierarchy of road users, which now sees pedestrians positioned at the top of the hierarchy, followed by cyclists, horse riders, and horse-drawn vehicles.
The new rules outline that motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists are to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross the road, whether that be at a zebra cross, parallel crossing, by the roadside, or at a junction.
There have also been guidelines announced on overtaking and passing distances.
You can find out about the changes in more detail here.
Stricter rules for mobile phone use behind the wheel
Whereas last year motorists could only be penalised for making calls or sending texts while driving, the law on mobile phone use has now tightened, and drivers can now be penalised for touching their phone while behind the wheel.
Motorists must not hold or use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any other device while driving, and this new law still applies if you’re stopped at traffic lights, queuing in traffic, supervising a learner driver, or driving a car that has an automatic engine cut-off when you stop moving. Having your phone in offline or flight mode also won’t make you exempt from the rules.
There are some exceptions to the rule, including if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency situation, if you’re safely parked, if you’re making a contactless payment while the car is stationary (such as at a drive-through), or if you’re using your device to park your car remotely.
For further information, visit the Government website.
Minor traffic offences enforced by local councils
The power to issue fines for minor motoring offences, such as stopping in yellow cross hatching areas or driving in cycle lanes, is set to be extended beyond the police to local councils.
Councils across England and Wales will be able to apply for this authority, and will be able to issue fines of up to £70 to motorists who break the rules.
A complete ban on pavement parking on the cards
Parking rules are currently under review by the Department of Transport, who are considering issuing a complete ban on pavement parking in England.
Whilst it’s already against the law to park on the pavement in London, if the law comes into play for the rest of the country, councils across England could be issuing £70 fines to those who park on the pavement.
Speed limiters mandatory from July
From 6th July this year, it will be mandatory for manufacturers to install speed limiters in all new cars.
A speed limiter, or Intelligent Speed Assistant (ISA), alerts drivers if they’re driving too fast and will intervene if the driver doesn’t slow down.
The speed limiter can be overridden by the driver in some circumstances, such as when overtaking.
Smart motorway development on pause
The Government has announced that the development of smart motorways will be put on pause for the next five years to allow for comprehensive safety reviews to be carried out.
The Department for Transport has also announced that £900 million will be invested into improving the safety of existing smart motorways, with £390 million going towards constructing 150 additional emergency areas to give motorists more places to stop if they run into difficulty while out on the road.
Self-driving cars allowed on UK roads
Following a review of the Automatic Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS), which automatically keep cars in lane at low speed and allow drivers to delegate control of the vehicle, the first self-driving cars could be seen on our roads as early as this spring.
New clean air zones in the North: Manchester and Bradford
Manchester is set to launch its clean air zone (CAZ) in July this year, meaning charges for those entering the area in a high-emission vehicle.
Manchester’s CAZ will target HGVs, buses, coaches, vans, minibuses, hackney cabs and private hire vehicles, and motorhomes and camper vans, charging up to £60 per day for some, depending on the vehicle’s emissions.
EV charging points a legal requirement for all new homes
From this year, it will be a legal requirement for all buildings constructed in England to have an EV charging point installed, and this will apply to new-build homes, new supermarkets, and any other building that’s undergoing major refurbishment or renovations.
If all goes ahead as planned, this should provide an additional 145,000 charging points for electrical vehicle users.
DRN Solicitors – Experts in road traffic law
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Get in touch with our team today for sound, reliable legal advice.