With lockdown restrictions gradually being eased in the UK, this year is set to be a year of significant change, especially for drivers. From MOT extension deadlines to the introduction of green number plates, drivers should stay up to date with the new driving laws for 2021. We have summarised the major driving law changes to watch out for below.
1. MOT extension ends
Throughout the past 12 months, the UK has introduced a few extensions to vehicles which had MOT’s during this timeframe in lockdown. The most recent extension came between the dates of 31st March and 31st July. This meant if your MOT was previously due between these dates you would automatically qualify for a 6 Month extension from this date. Since then, there has been no new proposed extension for MOTs.
2. Impacts of Brexit
Brexit now means that if you are going to travel into the EU you must obtain a green card from your insurer, this proves the vehicle is insured. You also need to take your driver’s licence and ensure the car wears a GB sticker. If you are hiring a car to take into the EU, you need to take your VE103 form which will prove you can legally take it out of the UK. If you decide to take your own car for less than 12 months, you have to take the V5C logbook with you.
3. Mobile phone use
The UK government has finally put to bed an outdated loophole regarding handheld phone devices and driving. Effectively, the Law stated that it was illegal to pick up your phone to answer/make a call or to send a text message. It did not however reflect the technological advancements in mobile phones over the past 20 years. For example, you could technically pick up your phone to take a picture or Video without breaking this law. New UK law is designed to combat this loophole following the death of 18 people last year and a further 135 more serious injuries reported where the driver was using a mobile phone. Now you will face a £200 fine and six points on your licence if you are caught even holding your phone whilst driving.
4. New ALKS lane keeping tools
ALKS or Automated Lane Keeping System will give drivers an option to delegate control of their car. It was approved in June 2020 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and is likely to be available in the Spring of 2021.
5. Green number plate changes
Cars which produce zero emissions can now have a green number plate or have a green stripe/flash on the left-hand side of the registration plate. This is to help promote green vehicles by making them more noticeable which may then grant them cheaper parking and or free entry into low emission zones.
6. E10 fuel proposed for this year
The UK will roll out a new cleaner type of Petrol called E10 this year. The fuel is designed to decrease carbon emission by over 750,000 tonnes per year which roughly equates to taking 350,000 cars off the road.
7. New Clean Air Zones (CAZ)
London will be expanding its ULEZ system to several outer boroughs. This will also be expanded into several other cities. The purpose of this is to improve the quality of the air across the country by discouraging the use of older and higher emission vehicles. Please see a list below of where and when these will be expanded.
Bath: CAZ will go live from March 15, 2021.
Birmingham: CAZ will go live from June 1, 2021.
Bristol: CAZ will go live from October 29, 2021.
London: ULEZ will begin expanding from October 25, 2021. The start of this expansion will take place on the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205) on October 25. The roads themselves are not included in the zone.
Bradford: CAZ is expected in October 2021.
Leicester: CAZ is expected in summer 2021.
Manchester: CAZ is expected in Spring 2022.
Newcastle: CAZ is expected in 2021.
Portsmouth: CAZ is expected in November 2021.
Sheffield: CAZ plans have currently been put on hold.