New motoring laws coming in 2020 that you need to know about

With the change of year comes the (proposed) changes in motoring laws. Make sure you read on to see which ones apply to you!

Low emission zones

London is currently the only major city to have already adopted a new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), replacing the previous T-charge scheme. The ULEZ scheme currently only applies to Central London but will be extended to inner London in 2021.

The change occurring in 2020 is this policy being adopted around other parts of the country. A Leeds scheme was planned to be in place January 2020 but has been delayed, Birmingham will also be introducing its own scheme in July. Other interested cities are Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Newcastle, Derby and Edinburgh. If vehicles don't meet ULEZ emission standards, the driver will have to pay a charge to drive in the defined area - affecting older diesel cars more heavily.

Smart motorways

Expected to cover almost 500 miles by April 2020, the smart motorway aims to promote awareness of motorway regulations and enforce stronger penalties in specific cases. One of these specific cases being driving in lanes closed by a red X sign overhead.

Car tax

Most driver have already seen their bill increase by £5 in line with inflation. However, owners of high emission cars will be charged up to an additional £15, and diesel vehicles which fail to meet the new mandatory RDE2 emissions standard will continue to pay higher tax rates. New car buyers could also face an extra £65 on their first year’s car tax.

Intelligent speed assist

Intelligent speed assist (ISA) is a safety feature which will become mandatory for new cars from 2022, under the EU’s revised general safety regulation, with the aim to improve road safety and minimise incidents.

Cameras on the car and the cars GPS work together to understand road signs and speed limits and adjust your speed accordingly. If your car is above the speed limit, a warning sound and your vehicle slows down automatically. No brakes are used but the car stops you accelerating until you are at the speed limit and then maintains you at that speed. Some car manufacturers such as Ford have already implemented this system into some of their cars.

Pavement parking ban

A pavement parking ban has been in the Capital for over 40 years, with new legislation we are set to see restrictions extended across England. It comes after the Scottish government already approved legislation banning pavement parking, which comes into force in 2021.

Recently qualified drivers

Recently qualified drivers could face restrictions once they have passed their test. The government is even considering bringing in a graduated driving license. At the moment, drivers who have passed their test in the past two years face harsher penalties for incidents such as using their phone. On top of this a range of restrictions could be imposed to make roads a safer place for the recently passed driver themselves and other motorists on the road.

The RAC have reviewed this and suggest possible restrictions could focus on:

    • Curfews – times when they are allowed to drive on the road
    • Passengers – limits for the number of passengers a new driver can have
    • Speed – separate, lower speed limits to more experienced drivers
    • Engine sizes – limits on how powerful their cars can be
    • Mandatory P plates – these are currently optional, but could be mandatory for a period after passing
    • Alcohol – lower limits than other drivers


Safety for cyclists

Motorists will be reminded and encouraged to consider the safety of cyclists when opening car doors and overtaking on the road. A technique of opening car doors called “Dutch reach”, is to be introduced in the UK. Using this technique, the motorist reaches to open their car door with the hand furthest away from the door, doing this force them to check over their shoulder for approaching traffic.

Parking ticket grace period

This new proposal suggests that a 10-minute grace period after the parking ticket expires could be introduced this year. This idea is currently being reviewed by the British Standards Institution. If introduced, private parking facilities will have to run in the same way as parking facilities run by the council, who introduced a 10-minute grace period back in 2015.

Driving lessons on the motorway

For a long time now, the law has been that motorists can only use the motorway once they have passed their driving test. However, now they are allowed to use motorways in driving lessons with an instructor supervising.


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