If you’re a tradesperson, you know how much your livelihood depends on using your vehicle. That’s why it’s vital to be aware of the driving laws that might land you with a hefty fine if you break them.
We’re not just talking about big ticket offences. These are the offences that can easily slip your mind, or that you might not even have known about in the first place.
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LeaseVan.co.uk recently conducted research into the things that drivers easily forget, and what the fines are for forgetting them. Below we let you know what you can do to make sure you don’t get caught out.
1. Not renewing your photocard licence
What’s the issue?: you need to renew your photocard licence every 10 years, but only the super-organised have the exact date it runs out committed to memory. You risk coughing up a £1,000 fine if you drive with an expired photocard.
And if you’re using one with an out-of-date address or name, you also risk a £1,000 fine.
What to do: give your photocard a quick check to make sure your details are up to date and to note your photo’s expiry date. This is printed on section 4b on the front of the card.
You can renew your driving licence at gov.uk. You’ll need to pay £14, but it’s that or a potential fine. If you just need to update your name or address, this doesn’t count as a renewal and is free. You can also update those at gov.uk.
2. Not taxing your vehicle
What’s the issue?: Since the government got rid of the tax disc, more people are forgetting to tax their vehicles. The tax disc put the date to renew tax right in front of you, but you could still be fined up to £1,000 for forgetting to renew your tax.
What to do: You should be sent a reminder before your tax is due to expire. You can check the tax status of your vehicle using the DVLA’s Vehicle Enquiry System. You can also renew your tax online at gov.uk.
3. Not registering off-the-road vehicles
What’s the issue?: while you don’t need to tax or insure a vehicle that you’re keeping off the road, you need to tell the DVLA that it’s not on the road (for example, if you’re keeping it in your garage). This is called a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification).
You could be fined £80 automatically for failing to tax a car and not declaring it’s off the road. If you declare your car off the road and then drive it (other than to or from an MOT or other testing appointment), you could be prosecuted and fined up to £2,500.
What to do: tell the DVLA that you’re taking your vehicle off the road. You can choose to start the SORN immediately or on the first day of next month.
4. Not insuring an undeclared off-the-road vehicle
What’s the issue?: an off-the-road vehicle doesn’t need to be taxed or insured, but as above, you do need to register it for a SORN. If you’re not using it, it’s off-the-road but you haven’t registered it for a SORN, it still needs to be insured.
If you don’t, you could get a fixed penalty of £100, have your vehicle wheel-clamped, impounded or destroyed or face a court prosecution, with a possible maximum fine of £1,000.
What to do: register for a SORN if your vehicle is off-the-road, or insure your vehicle.
5. Driving without an MOT certificate
What’s the issue?: the only time you can drive a vehicle without an MOT certificate is if you’ve booked an MOT and are driving it to the test centre (without stopping anywhere on the way). You could be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle with an expired MOT certificate. Not only that, if you crash, you’ll invalidate your insurance.
What to do: keep track of when you need to take your vehicle in for its annual MOT and book it in.
6. Not renewing a lorry or bus licence
What’s the issue?: if you’re over 45, you need to renew your lorry and buses licence every five years. At 65 and older, you need to renew it every year.
What to do: you should get two forms from the DVLA 56 days before your licence runs out, which you need to complete and send back to them. Providing you meet some conditions, you can drive while your licence is being renewed.
7. Not wearing a seatbelt
What’s the issue?: in a crash, you’re twice as likely to die if you’re not wearing a seatbelt. This should be enough for drivers to put their seatbelts on automatically, but if it’s not, keep in mind there’s up to a £500 fine if you’re caught not wearing one.
What to do: This one’s simple. Make it second nature to buckle up!
Are there any other laws that you think are easy to forget? Let us know below.