What are the new driving laws for 2020?

We’re entering a new year and with it comes a new host of driving laws and regulations that Britain’s motorists need to know about. With so many new announcements, it can be difficult to keep up with the new things that you need to know, both when driving domestically and when travelling abroad. Read on to find out more about some of the most important driving laws being enacted in 2020.

1. Low Emission Zones

Following the lead of London’s tactics to make the city less polluted and contribute to the government’s Green Economy plans, more UK cities are expected to enact Low Emission Zones in their city centres, which prevent certain cars from travelling in certain places. Major cities including Bristol, York, Edinburgh and Birmingham have all pledged to create Low Emission or Clean Air Zones in an attempt to reduce pollution caused by cars. Birmingham and Bristol have also suggested they may make certain areas of the city completely car free by the end of 2020.

If you’re found to be driving a vehicle in one of these areas that doesn’t meet emission standards, you will have to pay a fine. Depending on the vehicle, you could be paying up to £60.

2. Parking grace period

All local UK councils have offered a ten minute ‘grace period’ after the expiry time of a parking permit before issuing a ticket since 2015, but this rule has now been extended. Now this has been made a permanent rule across all kinds of car parks in the UK.

3. Graduated Driving License

Following the success of a Graduated Driving License (GDL) in Northern Ireland last year, as well as in countries like New Zealand and the United States, the UK government is now considering applying a GDL to England, spearheaded by the Department for Transport.

The GDL puts general restrictions on new drivers to try and minimise accidents and crashes caused by inexperienced drivers putting themselves at risk. The scheme puts a time restriction limiting what new drivers can do, which includes driving at night, a minimum learning period and not driving with passengers of a particular age.

It’s hoped that this new scheme will improve road safety and ensure that new drivers are fully trained before they begin tackling the more complex elements of driving, such as motorway driving or driving in difficult weather conditions.

4. Mobile phone loophole fixed

In Spring 2020, a loophole in the laws that regulate the use of mobile phones whilst driving will be closed. This comes after a motorist was not convicted for using his phone whilst driving along a motorway. The law stated the drivers could not use their phones ‘to communicate’ whilst driving, allowing the motorist to avoid jail time.

Under the new law, any usage of a mobile phone whilst driving will be considered illegal. This includes changing a song, looking at messages and other day to day things motorists may do. It remains recommended by all major bodies that mobile phones should not be used at all whilst driving, as it can cause distraction and accidents on the road.

5. Driving abroad

With the official exit of the UK from the European Union now underway, British drivers may now be subject to international regulations while driving through the mainland continent. This is likely to occur if the UK leaves the EU without a deal at the end of 2020.

All drivers bringing their vehicles into Europe may now have to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive abroad. Depending on which country you’re visiting, the number of permits you’ll need will change. The only EU country you will not need a permit to drive through if you have a UK license is the Republic of Ireland.