New Driving Laws In 2015 You Need To Know!
2015 has been a massive year in changes to driving laws – have you been keeping up to date? Don’t worry if some of the changes have passed you by. Here at Rivervale we have compiled 10 things you need to know!
1. Tax discs have been abolished – if you haven’t heard about this, where have you been? This really was a law change for 2014, but still has the potential to cause confusion. For most of us this just means removing our disc holder and spending a while with the Mr Muscle trying to get that annoying sticky residue off the windscreen! For those selling or buying a car more thought is required. You can no longer transfer your remaining tax to the new owner. Once the vehicle is sold it is the responsibility of the new owner to make sure that the vehicle is taxed. The previous owner should automatically get a refund from DVLA for any months remaining. For a full explanation see our blog ‘Part Ways With Pointless Paper’.
2. Paying for car tax by a monthly direct debit – we are now the ‘direct debit generation’. We pay everything from our utility bills to our lease vehicles by the ultra-convenient method so it wasn’t going to be long before car tax followed suit. Instead of the previous 6 or 12 month options, a rolling monthly direct debit is available that will only stop when you tell the DVLA you want it to. Say goodbye to finding those tax disc reminders a few weeks too late!
3. No need to keep your counterpart – From June it was no longer necessary to keep the paper counterpart to your driving licence. While many people may privately admit to not knowing where their paper part is anyway it did cause initial panic! The status of your licence is now held by a DVLA database which can be accessed by yourself and anybody who may genuinely need your information, such as employers. Panic set in for those hiring a car abroad, originally drivers needed a code that was only valid for 72 hours …….. they have now extended this time period to 21 days, phew! Full details on this change can be found in our blog ‘Why Is June 8th An Important Day For Motorists?’
4. In March drug driving laws were tightened up. Most people didn’t take any notice believing that these laws related to illegal drugs only. It soon became apparent this was not the case and taking prescribed medicines could leave you with a 12 month driving ban, criminal record, a fine of up to £5,000 or possibly a 6 month stay in prison. Find out if you are the right side of the law in our blog ‘Are You Safe To Drive?’
5. Are you reading this in Scotland? Right at the end of 2014 new lower drink/driving limits came into force cutting the milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood from 80 to 50. Be warned this means even 1 little drink could put you over the limit.
6. Do you feel like HGV’s are going a bit faster since April? That’s because they are! The speed limit has been raised on single carriageways to 40 mph and up to 50 mph on dual carriageways.
7. If the thought of lorries whizzing past you a little bit faster leaves you fearing for your safety – DON’T ! From September a safer lorries scheme will begin in London. All Lorries on the road over 3.5 tonnes will need certain safety equipment such as extra mirrors and side guards to prevent cyclists being dragged underneath. Any driver failing to comply will end up with a £50 penalty or a £1000 fine if the case needs to go to a magistrate’s court.
8. From 1st October 2015 it will be illegal to light up in your vehicle with a child under 18 present. This is for any drivers and passengers; if as a passenger you are seen smoking with a child present both you as the smoker and the driver of the vehicle will be fined £50. Strangely this law will not apply to 17 year old drivers who are smoking in their own vehicle. Also the law will not apply to a convertible with the roof fully down!
9. Making a plea for a minor motoring offence has now caught up with modern technology. No longer will you need to attend court to make your plea you can log on via a secure website to enter your plea, saving everyone time and money.
10. A crack down on middle lane hogging – this law has been around since 2013 but the first fine was issued in 2015, a whopping £945! Everyone was amazed and a debate began as to whether travelling in the middle lane should be accepted or not. The Highway Code is on the side of middle lane hogger haters stating in rule 264 that all drivers must keep in the left hand lane when not overtaking.
So there’s your top 10 driving things to know! And here’s an extra one definitely not from 2015 … There is an old law that states that all Hackney carriages must carry a bale of hay and a bag of oats at all times!!! Handy if you missed your breakfast!