New road rules graphic
Ryan Darby

Ryan Darby

Ryan takes the lead on all things 'wordy'. With a sports media background, a true passion for cars, and a LOT of driving experience under his belt, he'll make sure you have all the information you need, when you need it.

New laws could result in big changes for motorists

April will mark the beginning of several important changes for motorists, with new rules and laws coming into action.

The Government is considering a number of crucial changes, including changes to our yearly road tax. We have taken a closer look at some of the rules that could affect our daily driving habits.

Increasing Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)

Vehicle Excise Duty – or Road Tax as it is more commonly known – is once again on the rise and motorists will be paying more to keep their cars on the roads.

The figure you pay for your tax largely depends on the car you drive, specifically its CO2 emissions. Cars will fall into specific brackets based on their CO2 emissions and could pay as little as £10 or upwards of £2245.

The rise also includes an increase to the standard rate (second year and onwards) of car tax, with the figure rising by £5 to £155 in total.

Drivers of electric cars do not pay any road tax both in their first year and thereafter following a rule change in April 2020, something that is a major incentive for more drivers to go green.

You can find out how much you will have to pay in our full 2021 Road Tax breakdown.

Mobile phone in car

Stricter mobile phone rules

Since 2017, any driver caught using their mobile phone while driving has been handed a £200 fine and a six-point penalty.

A new rule, which is due to be enforced later this year, will bring in tougher measures to prevent mobile phone usage while behind the wheel.

The penalty charge will remain the same, but crucially, the ruling will cover holding your mobile device, no matter the context.

It had previously been judged on whether the act of holding your phone was deemed to be ‘interactive communication’. 

As a result of this, it had been reported that some road users were avoiding punishment for taking photos while driving, as that is not classified as a form of communication. 

Extension of the London driving charge

Driving in London could be about to become more expensive thanks to a Greater London borough charge that is currently under consideration.

This could see the current London Congestion Charge cover the entirety of Greater London, with drivers being charged £3.50 per day if they want to drive into the outer boroughs of the capital.

The Congestion Charge currently costs £15 per day, between the hours of 7am and 10pm, every day of the year, except Christmas day.

Use this Congestion Charge Map to see if you will be driving through affected areas.

driving in the city

Driving lessons and tests resume

There is some good news for drivers and learner drivers in April. Lessons alongside an official instructor will resume from 12 April, while full driving tests will begin from 22 April in England and Wales. 

In Scotland, driving lessons will not resume until 26 April. All dates are subject to change from the Government.

Until then, you can only provide driving lessons to someone from your household or support bubble and you are advised to stay local while driving. 

You can also provide driving lessons to a mobile emergency worker if they have an emergency driving test booked via their employer.

For more information on driving lessons during COVID-19, please follow the Government’s guidance.

With restrictions beginning to ease around the United Kingdom, there has never been a more important time to stay safe on the road.

Over the coming weeks and months, we are likely to see a rise in road users compared to what we have witnessed since the beginning of the year.

Some of these rules have been designed to keep us, our passengers and fellow road users as safe as possible.

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