Everything from tax to mobile phone usage will be affected, with this first set of changes forming part of a wider 25-point plan to update motoring laws.
Gary White, from Riverside Volvo on Barnsley Road, said: “The main aim of the new laws is to make driving safer and more environmentally friendly, with heavier penalties for driving while on your mobile, and the introduction of clean air zones in larger cities.
“We wanted to outline these new laws and explain some of the jargon to ensure no Wakefield drivers are caught out.”
1. Local clean air zones
Be aware when booking UK holidays and plan your route before travelling, because clean air zones are being introduced in a number of cities, including Birmingham, Bristol and Bath, as well as several Greater London boroughs. The measures have been introduced to help tackle CO2 emissions in cities, and the cost varies from £8 to £100 a day, depending on your vehicle and the location.
It is also important to note that not all drivers have to pay. Vehicle exemptions range from an ultra-low-emission vehicle, for a disabled tax class vehicle or a historic vehicle. Different cities have different rules on exemptions, so it’s always worth double checking with the city council’s website.
2. Pavement parking
Government officials are currently deliberating whether to extend London’s ban on pavement parking to the rest of the UK, so it’s a good idea to get into the habit of parking fully on the road now. Many drivers think they’re being considerate by making their car take up as little room on the road as possible, but forget that not all pedestrians are able to squeeze through the small gap this leaves – especially wheelchair and mobility scooter users.If this law does get passed, drivers who rest wheels on the pavement could face up to a £70 fine.
3. Fuel duty freeze
Wakefield drivers will be pleased to hear it was announced in the annual Budget that fuel duty will be frozen for another year, since cars are still being considered a transport safety measure during the pandemic. The tax is currently 57.95 pence per litre of petrol, diesel, biodiesel and bioethanol – the same rate for the tenth year in a row.
4. Driving lessons and tests
Those who were learning to drive prior to the pandemic will be allowed to get back behind the wheel from April. Although the Government announcement also said that practical driving tests would be allowed to continue at the end of the month, this is dependent on the rate of Covid-19 infections continuing to slow. In August 2020, 140,000 eager learners queued to book one of the 35,675 available driving test appointments, which actually lead to the website crashing! Make sure to book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.