Motorists face paying higher Vehicle Excise Duty from April, while stricter laws will kick in to punish drivers who use a mobile phone at the wheel
Several changes to driving laws will come into force across the UK this year which motorists need to be aware of.
Drivers are now legally required to treat these road users with more consideration when overtaking, with cyclists and pedestrians now given priority at certain junctions.
Upcoming changes will see more Clean Air Zones be introduced around the UK, meaning some drivers will face a charge for entering certain towns and cities, while Vehicle Excise Duty is due to go up in the coming months.
Listed are eight upcoming changes all motorists need to know.
1. Tougher rules for mobile phone use
It is already illegal to text or make a phone call from a mobile phone while driving, except in an emergency, but laws will become even stricter from 25 March, with drivers to be banned from taking photos, videos, scrolling through playlists or playing games at the wheel. Anyone caught using a hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.
2. New number plates will be released
From 1 March, new number plates will be released for UK cars to replace the ‘71’ tag which represents the latest registration change in September last year. All new cars registered until 31 August will include the ‘22’ tag. From 1 September, new cars will be registered with the ‘72’ tag.
3. Vehicle Excise Duty is increasing
Vehicle Excise Duty (also known as car tax or road tax) is due to rise in line with inflation from April. The amount of tax motorists have to pay will depend on the age of their car, and how environmentally friendly it is. Zero emission vehicles, including electric cars, will continue to pay £0 tax for the first year on the road.
4. Red diesel and rebated biofuels will become illegal for most vehicles
This law will restrict the use of red diesel and rebated biofuels from 1 April. Red diesel is mainly used off-road for likes of cranes or bulldozers, meaning the change will mostly affect businesses, rather than individual drivers. It is intended to promote the use of more sustainable fuels as part of the UK’s 2050 climate change targets.