All Of The New Driving Laws That Could Come Into Effect In 2020

This year a large range of new driving laws may come into effect, concerning everything from smart motorways to car tax. Here’s everything you need to know…

Smart Motorways

Smart motorways were the subject of much controversy in 2019; with more and more people questioning their safety. This year, tougher penalties for ignoring warning signs (such as closed lane ‘Xs’) are expected. As it stands, ignoring them is illegal and entails a £100 fine as well as three penalty points. Highways England has, however, pledged to build more refuge areas to prevent motorists from becoming stranded in the event of a breakdown.

Overtaking Cyclists 

It’s likely that the ‘Dutch Reach’ will soon be included in the Highway Code. This requires drivers to use the arm furthest away from the door to open it; this encourages them to look over their shoulders in order to detect oncoming cyclists and pedestrians. Drivers will also be expected to give way to cyclists and pedestrians when turning turning left.

Car Tax 

In line with inflation, most drivers will see their overall car tax increase by around 5%. It’ll be worse news for drivers of particularly polluting vehicles though. Drivers who’s vehicles fail to meet RDE2 emission standards will be charged up to an additional £15. New car buyers may also face an extra £65 on their first year’s car tax.

Low Emissions

A variety of authorities are weighing up the pros and cons on introducing an Ultra Low Emission Zone, like the one in London. Some, like Bristol, are going even further in banning diesel vehicles outright from the city centre. As for London, it’ll be extending the range of its Zone to inner London in 2021.

Possible Pavement-Parking Fines

It’s been illegal to park on the pavement in London since 1974, largely in response to the lack of space in its sprawling streets. But now some MPs are calling for the ban to be implemented nation-wide. The idea has been entertained before but is seemingly gaining momentum again. Critics argue that no viable alternative exists for millions of motorists and that it’d be impossible to enforce. Its advocates, however, argue that parking on the pavement disenfranchises pedestrians and other road-users (including the emergency services).

Recently-Qualified Drivers 

It seems very likely, at this stage, that the government will introduce a variety of new measures for new drivers. As it stands, new drivers simply face stronger penalties for violating the Highway Code; losing their license if they accrue six penalty points within two years and being made to take the test again. MPs, however, have pitched everything from curfews, restrictions on the number of passengers, reduced engine sizes, enforced ‘P’ plates and lower alcohol limits.

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