Six motoring laws that have changed during Covid pandemic
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From stricter phone penalties to MOT changes and new green plates, the coronavirus pandemic has not stopped motoring laws from changing.
Over the last year, six motoring rules have been updated or introduced while the country has been yo-yoing in and out of national and regional lockdowns.
These are the six main rule changes:
1. Stricter phone penalties
Using a mobile phone behind the wheel has long been illegal, but updates to the law this year have seen a legal loophole sealed.
People were able to avoid prosecution when taking photos or videos when driving, but penalties for people caught have been introduced.
Now, any driver caught holding their phone or satnav whilst driving could receive a £200 fine and six points on their licence.
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2. MOT changes
During the height of the pandemic, vehicles requiring an MOT certificate could get a six-month extension.
This has since ended, so all vehicles due an MOT will need them going forward.
There were updates to the MOT defect categories in 2020 and a variety of new vehicle checks were added, these include under-inflated tyres, contaminated brake fluid and brake pad warning lights.
Newer cars will also have their reversing lights and daytime running lights checked.
Driving without a valid MOT certificate could see road users fined up to £1,000.
3. Green plates
Owners of electric and zero-emission vehicles can now purchase brand-new green number plates.
This is an initiative designed to help promote green vehicles by making them more visible to others on the road and those with these plates will be given special privileges, such as access to cheaper parking and free entry into low-emission zones and clean air zones.
4. Clean Air Zones
Throughout 2021, major UK cities with high emissions will see the introduction of ‘Clean Air Zones’, which champion electric and low-emission vehicles.
This means that there will be a daily charge to drive in certain areas when behind the wheel of a less eco-friendly vehicle.
The first city to see these changes will be Birmingham, however, Norwich was not one of those included in the roll-out.
The nearest city with the measures planned to the region is Cambridge.
5. Driving in the EU
While foreign travel may be some way off, there are a number of differences to the way British people can drive in the EU post-Brexit.
From now on, everyone will need a green card, their logbook, and a GB sticker on their number plate.
The card will prove the vehicle is fully insured and drivers can obtain them through their insurance provider.
6. Smart Motorways
While Norfolk does not have any smart motorways of its own, this is something worth bearing in mind when travelling to other parts of the country.
Itis now illegal to drive in a lane that has a red X sign overhead on a smart motorway.
If drivers are caught in a closed motorway lane, they could receive a fixed penalty of up to £100 and three points on their license.
In some more dangerous cases, stronger penalties are issued.