With a new year comes new rules and regulations, and for motorists and road users, 2023 has proven no different, with as many as 10 new laws introduced that you should be aware of.
From e-scooters having greater permissions out on the road to pavement parking banned in Scotland, there are plenty of new changes coming that will divide opinions up and down the country.
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Problem roads in Bristol targeted with enforcement
Bristol has identified six roads notorious for road traffic problems and has decided to act upon them by introducing cameras and other enforcement measures to curtail them.
Offences that have been ongoing in these areas for a significant time that has led to the measures include illegal U-turns, driving the wrong way down one-way streets and turning left or right in prohibited areas.
The six sites in question are:
- Hockey's Lane and Fishponds Road junction, Fishponds
- King Georges Road and Queens Road junction, Withywood
- Lower Redland Road between Elgin Park and Exeter Buildings, Redland
- Furber Road between Raeburn Road and St Anne's Road, St George
- Bath Bridge Roundabout and Cattle Market Road junction, near Temple Meads
- Hareclive Road and Anton Bantock Way junction, Withywood
The new measures allow the local council to issue penalty points on your license and fines, rather than the police, so there's a greater chance road users will be penalised for their actions.
20 mph speed limit zones in Wales
From September 2023, Wales is reducing the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph in certain locations and on particular roads. These will generally be in built-up areas where pedestrians frequent.
The reduction of the speed limit aims to achieve the following:
- Reduce road collisions
- Provide more opportunities to walk and cycle
- Improve health and wellbeing
- Improve safety on the streets
- Improve the environment
The following eight locations in Wales already introduced these measures between July 2021 and May 2022:
- St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire
- Llanelli North, Carmarthenshire
- St Brides Major, Vale of Glamorgan
- Central North, Cardiff
- Cilfrew Village, Neath Port Talbot
- Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
- Severnside, Monmouthshire
- Buckley, Flintshire
London is expanding its Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ)
The current ULEZ in London is expanding to cover every London borough from August 29 2023. The aim is to help reduce emissions and give residents better air quality by charging vehicles that emit high levels of pollution.
If you drive a vehicle that doesn't meet standards within these zones, you could get hit with a £12.50 charge per day. If you're already a resident in these areas and your existing car doesn't meet the standard, you will still get charged the same amount.
Vehicle scrap schemes in London
If you're a London resident and receive certain benefits, including disability, you could scrap an existing car that doesn't meet ULEZ standards and receive a grant towards a new vehicle that emits low emissions.
If you successfully apply, you could be eligible for more ULEZ support. Those that aren't eligible may get offered other types of support, including grants for public transport, but Transport for London (TFL) has not confirmed that yet.
Glasgow's Clean Air Zone (CAZ)
Much like London's ULEZ, Glasgow has a version called CAZ which has been in operation for a while already. However, the local council now hopes to be able to install cameras to catch vehicles driving within these zones that don't meet emissions standards.
If you live within one of the zones, you will be given until 2024 to purchase a vehicle that meets emissions standards.
Scotland banning pavement parking
The Living Streets Foundation in Scotland has been campaigning for people from parking their vehicles on the pavement. It was first approved four years ago, and finally, it could be implemented in 2023.
Parking on the pavement can obstruct vulnerable members of society, meaning they have to take risks by manoeuvring around them onto the road. It's currently illegal to park on the pavement in London and Wales, so this would be a welcome step for the people of Scotland.
HGV drivers could get banned from using faulty sat-nav
Councils in England and Wales are calling for a ban on HGV drivers using faulty sat-nav after an increase in incidents involving HGV drivers that have gone the wrong way.
Incidents such as HGVs getting stuck under a bridge, blocking roads or crashing and causing delays are predominantly due to HGV drivers using sat-navs that are not updated or assume they are driving a standard vehicle.
More e-scooters permitted on the road
E-scooters have grown in popularity in the last few years, and nobody can tell if it's legal to use them on the road or pavement.
Now it looks like we're going to get a bit more clarity as trials are taking place in several locations around the country to determine whether or not they can be used on the road safely.
The following places are where trials are taking place:
- Bournemouth and Poole
- Buckinghamshire (Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Princes Risborough)
- Cheshire West and Chester (Chester)
- Copeland (Whitehaven)
- Essex (Basildon, Braintree, Chelmsford and Colchester)
- Gloucestershire (Cheltenham and Gloucester)
- Great Yarmouth
- London (participating boroughs)
- Milton Keynes
Some government officials are in favour of allowing them on the road, providing they meet certain criteria, such as being able to hit the right speed and having the correct amount of power and lights.
The e-scooter must also be insured, and the person using it must have a full UK driver's license. At the moment, some e-scooter users are being used irresponsibly and affecting the safety of pedestrians.
Self-driving cars coming soon
The government believes that by 2025, all of the correct legislation will be in place to allow autonomous vehicles on UK roads. In 2022, they said they would change the Highway Code to accommodate these types of vehicles.
MOTs could be changing
The first MOT on a new car is three years after its first use on the road, but this could change to four years for cars, motorbikes and some vans.
The average MOT costs £40, and this change could save motorists £100m in MOT fees.