New Driving Laws Motorists Need to Know
New motoring laws are introduced regularly, but how up-to-date are you on the latest rules of the road? Here are three motoring laws you may not be aware of that have been brought in over the last year or so.
Smoking in cars with children
Since October 2015, it has been illegal in England and Wales to smoke in a car or other vehicle with anyone under the age of 18. The law applies even if you have the car windows or sunroof open, the air conditioning on or you’re sitting with the door open. The fine for this offence is £50.
It’s also against the law not to stop someone smoking in a vehicle you’re driving if you’re carrying passengers under the age of 18. Both the driver and the smoker can be fined in this situation.
However, the law doesn’t apply to e-cigarettes or convertible cars with their roof all the way down.
The government introduced this new legislation to protect children and young people from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. The British Lung Foundation says that around 430,000 children were exposed to second hand smoke in cars each week before the new rules.
Make a Plea
Since March 2015, the government has been rolling out a new system in England and Wales called ‘Make a Plea’.
Under the new system, motorists charged with summary motoring offences such as speeding can make a plea online as an alternative to a postal plea or attending court in person.
This change was made to:
- Modernise the courts
- Provide easier access
- Reduce case time
- Reduce costs for the courts and police
Dealing with minor traffic offences makes up much of the work performed by the courts, so freeing up their time for more serious offences is a step forward.
The ‘Make a Plea’ system is also being considered by the government for other low-level crimes.
Safer Lorry Scheme
As part of a Safer Lorry Scheme initiative, from September 2015, HGVs wanting to travel through Greater London must be fitted with additional safety equipment to protect cyclists and pedestrians.
The new equipment includes special mirrors to improve a driver’s view around their vehicle, as well as side guards to prevent cyclists being dragged under an HGV’s wheels.
The Scheme aims to reduce the amount of collisions and deaths between cyclists and pedestrians with lorries in London. It is being enforced throughout a “Safer HGV Zone” in Greater London, which operates within the same boundary as the Low Emission Zone.
Any non-exempt vehicle found in the Safer HGV Zone without the correct safety equipment could face a Fixed Penalty Notice, a magistrate’s fine of up to £1,000 and loss of their operator’s licence.
If you’ve accidentally fallen foul of any of these new motoring laws, you’re probably not alone! If you’ve found yourself in receipt of a Fixed Penalty Notice or points on your licence, ask us to quote for your next car insurance.