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New driving laws 2022 for business owners who use a vehicle

3-minute read

Catriona Smith

22 December 2021

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The government often introduces new driving laws to improve road safety. It’s important to know what’s changed, and what to expect in the future, so you’re not caught out by unexpected fines and penalty points.

This article was updated on 13 January 2022 following the government announcement on smart motorways.

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7 driving laws for 2022 you should know

If you use a vehicle for work, here are seven new driving laws for 2022 – from new clean air zones to important Highway Code changes.

Highway Code changes

There'll be new changes published in the next version of the Highway Code to improve safety, particularly for cyclists and pedestrians.

Changes include:

  • a ‘hierarchy of road users’ to create greater safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Essentially this means that road users who can cause the greatest harm (lorries) have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they can pose to others
  • clarifying priority rules for cyclists and pedestrians – they have right of way when travelling straight ahead at junctions, so drivers must give way before turning into or out of a junction
  • new guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists and horse riders

Update: these changes came into effect on 29 January 2022. It's important to get to grips with them, so you can read about all of these changes at gov.uk.

Rules on driving in the EU have changed

Green card no longer required

The so-called ‘green card’ rule has been scrapped for UK-registered vehicles. At the start of 2021, we reported that you’ll need to carry a green card from your motor insurance provider, however this Brexit requirement was dropped in summer 2021.

Your GB sticker is no longer valid

After more than 100 years of use, the GB bumper sticker is no longer valid for motorists driving in the EU. You now need to use a UK car sticker following changes that came in after Brexit.

If you have a GB on your number plate, you’ll need to get a new one, or add a UK logo to your car bumper.

Check the rules for driving in the EU on Gov.uk.

New clean air zones

London expanded its ULEZ zone back in October, and you can expect to see more of these zones across the UK in 2022.

Clean air zones, also called low emission zones, are steadily being introduced to improve air quality and reduce emissions in city centres.

Other cities are introducing low emission zones, including Manchester on 30 May 2022 as well as Bristol and Newcastle in summer 2022.

While Oxford has been running a pilot zone since summer 2021, the city plans to introduce Britain’s first zero emissions zone in February 2022.

Meanwhile, Scottish cities introducing low emissions zones in 2022 include Aberdeen, Dundee, and Edinburgh.

Keep an eye on updates from your local authority about low emissions zones.

Electric vehicles – grants and legislation

New homes in England will have electric car charging points fitted by law. This also includes non-residential buildings such as supermarkets and offices.

While the government has been trying to encourage consumers to buy electric vehicles, grants were cut twice in 2021, falling from £2,500 to £1,500.

Considering buying an electric vehicle? Read our guide to electric cars and vans for business owners.

What’s happening with smart motorways?

The controversial smart motorway system has been subject to criticism on safety grounds. In November there were calls for a five-year delay in introducing all-lane smart motorways, and the government launched an inquiry to review their safety, public confidence, and impact on congestion.

In a report, the Commons' Transport Select Committee recommended that the roll-out should be paused until safety can be delivered and assured.

Following the inquiry, it was announced on 12 January that the smart motorway rollout has been suspended for five years. This means the planned work to convert stretches of the M3, M25, M62 and M40 will be paused until at least 2025.

However, this doesn’t affect projects already in progress. Construction has been underway on the M27 smart motorway for nearly two years, and after multiple delays the new completion date is scheduled for spring 2022. The 15-mile stretch will cover between Portsmouth and Southampton.

Make sure you’re also aware of Highway Code changes from 2021, including the importance of not driving in a lane marked with an X on smart motorways.

Speed limiters on all new cars

All new cars will be fitted with speed limiters from 6 July 2022 onwards to improve road safety. Although the UK has left the EU, this mirrors a ruling from the European Commission as a way to improve safety standards on the roads.

Fines for using your phone at the wheel

While texting and calling while driving is already illegal, stricter laws are coming in to bring the legislation up to date with how we use the technology. The new law coming in 2022 goes further to say that your phone can’t be used for scrolling through playlists, taking photos and videos, or playing games.

This applies even if you’re stopped at a red light. Drivers who break the law will be fined £200 and get six penalty points on their licence.

Have you heard about any other new driving laws for 2022? Let us know in the comments below.

Photograph 1: Jevanto Productions/stock.adobe.com

Photograph 2: Graham King/stock.adobe.com

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