New driving laws in 2023
Driving law updates and news for 2023…
Every year the UK government announces a new set of driving rules and regulations to help make our roads safer and improve the experience for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. It’s important to keep up to date with these, as the highway code we so vigorously studied for our driving tests has likely changed a fair amount!
So, here’s everything you need to know about new driving laws in 2023 and some changes on the horizon.
1. The Ultra-Low Emission Zone is expanding
Third time’s a charm! ULEZ will be expanding yet again. Currently, it spans across Central London, but it will soon apply to all 33 London Boroughs. This means that if your vehicle does not comply with ULEZ emissions standards, you will have to pay a fee to enter the zone which is currently set at £12.50 per day.
To see if you’re impacted, head to the UK Gov website.
Oh and of course, if you drive electric – you are exempt from paying this (go you!).
2. Scrappage scheme
To help vulnerable drivers caught out by the new ULEZ expansion, Sadiq Khan has announced a £110million fund which is open from January 2023 to Londoners who receive benefits, are a charity or small business to help fund the switch to a compliant vehicle. Low-income Londonders can claim up to £3000 to replace their old polluting cars however, the fund is on a first-come, first served basis so it may not benefit everyone who needs it.
3. Speed limits in Wales
From September 2023, drivers in Wales will see most ‘restricted’ roads cut from 30mph, to 20mph speed limits. They will become one of the first countries in the world to legislate 20mph on roads where cars mix with pedestrians and cyclists.
‘Restricted roads’ are usually located in residential areas with lots of pedestrians and streetlights placed no more than 200 yards apart.
4. HGV levy
To protect the condition of our roads, all heavy good vehicles weighing over 12 tonnes will, from July 2023, be charged a levy for wear and tear. This levy was suspended during the COVID pandemic but will be reinstated in the summer.
The levy helps to pay for highway maintenance and repairs around the country to ensure our roads are kept safe and in a drivable condition.
5. Fuel duty rates return to normal
Fuel duty rates are included in the price you pay for petrol, diesel and other fuels. It’s a tax imposed by the Government to help reduce consumption (to reduce road congestion and pollution) and to raise revenue for our public services. Following the pandemic, fuel duty rates were reduced by 5p to help with the increasing cost of fuel at a time where cost of living was at an all time high. However, they are expected to return to normal (or even rise by 12p!) after the Spring 2023 Budget announcement which will take place in March. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements.
This might just be the right time to make the switch to electric.
New (ish) rules you might not be aware of
So, these aren’t new for 2023, however they are recent and important, and you may have missed them!
1. Mobile phones
Okay, so not an update in 2023, but we think it’s an important change to highlight with so many of us using mobile phones. In 2022, the highway code was updated – it’s now an offence to hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet or any other device that can send and receive data whilst driving. The law still applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
Drivers caught breaking this law can get 6 points on their license and a £200 fine. Even worse, if you’ve had your license less than 2 years – you will lose your license completely.
Best advice? Put your phone away! Out of sight, out of mind.
2. New builds & electric charge points
From 2022, all new build houses and flats in England must have an electric vehicle charge point installed, and that includes for commercial buildings too. This move has been welcomed by many as the ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2030 is fast approaching!
3. Using electric charge points
In 2022, the first set of guidance on electric car charging points were added to the highway code. When using electric charge points, drivers should: park close and avoid a trip hazard from trailing cables, display a warning sign if possible and return cables neatly to reduce risk of obstacles for other road users or pedestrians.
With a rise in electric cars in Britain, we expect to see more regulations on electric cars and charging in the coming years.
Other changes on the horizon
1. MOTs could be changing
MOT’s are an essential part of car ownership. They help drivers ensure their cars are roadworthy and safe to drive. Currently, if you have a brand-new car, you will not need an MOT until Year 3. The government are proposing extending this to Year 4. They claim, most cars pass their first MOT at Year 3 so this change shouldn’t impact road safety.
You may have noticed e-scooters in your city, whizzing past you on the pavement. Well, that’s because several trials are happening up and down the country. Currently, it’s illegal to ride these on the road, but several city centres are trialling how this green form of travel could work safely for pedestrians and scooter riders. They are certainly a form of debate right now, and it will be interesting to see if these become commonplace in the near future.
3. Pavement Parking in Scotland
To help retain the quality and accessibility of pavements for pedestrians, a ban on pavement parking in Scotland could be implemented. It was actually approved four years ago… but it’s thought that this could finally become law in Scotland in 2023.
FYI – it’s illegal to park on the pavement in London & Wales.
So, there you have it – some of the latest rules on the road!
Don’t forget, as a driver it’s your responsibility to be aware of all the latest rules and regulations. We’ll keep this list updated as and when new laws are put in place – make sure you are not caught out!