Monday, 5 October 2015

5 Changes In 2015 Motorists Need To Know About

Policeman enforcing driving law
Can you name the latest changes to driving in the UK?

In the past twelve months, a number of new laws have come into place that affect motorists nationwide. If you aren't aware of these changes, you could be risking points on your licence, fines or even time in prison without realising it.
The abolition of the tax disc
Although we waved goodbye to the paper tax disc in October last year, a lot of drivers still do not know what changes this means when it comes to taxing their own vehicles.
The main change, and the one which has caught motorists out, is involved with the selling and buying vehicles. Tax is no longer transferred with the vehicle to the new owner. Instead, the seller can get a refund on the tax remaining on the vehicle, while the buyer has to re-tax the car for the whole year.
Changes in drug driving laws
The implementation of this law has seen police officers in England and Wales equipped with a 'drugalyser' to test for both cannabis and cocaine on the road, very much in the same way a breathalyser tests for alcohol. If you pass the test, you may still have to visit the police station to be tested for ketamin, heroin, LSD and ecstasy. 
In addition to this, it is an offence to drive with certain prescription drugs such as methadone, morphine and diazepam in your system if you are above a certain limit. If you take drugs that can affect your ability to drive, it would be worth checking whether or not the changes to the law affect you.
Goodbye to the paper counterpart driving licence
Back in June, the paper counterpart driving licence ceased production. No more are to be issued, as all the data regarding driving penalties will be kept on a central online database. From now on, all you need is the photocard - although if you have the old style paper licence issued before 1998, do not destroy it as these are still valid.
All valid licence holders can now access some information held by the DVLA online, as well as by phone or post as usual. 
Ban on smoking in cars with children
According to the British Lung Foundation, over 430,000 children are exposed to second hand smoke in cars each week. In a move to lower the health issues faced by children exposed to second hand smoke, October 2015 will see it become illegal to smoke in a car that is carrying passengers under the age of 18. Drivers found breaking the law could be subject to a fine of £50.
Speed limit on Heavy Goods Vehicles
Many agreed that the legislation surrounding speed limits for HGVs was outdated. In April of this year in both England and Wales the speed limit for HGVs travelling on single carriageways and dual carriageways increased by 10mph. Single carriageways now have a 50mph speed limit, whereas on a dual carriageway vehicles over 3.5t can reach 60mph.

We want to hear from you, to see if any of these changes have had an impact on you or your business vehicles, so please share any experiences in the comments!