New driving laws you might have missed for 2022
The new year has seen the introduction of several new laws related to driving. Most of these are fairly minor changes. They could, however, have significant implications. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know.
A new hierarchy of road users
Probably the biggest shake-up is the fact that the Highway Code will introduce a new hierarchy of road users. In simple terms, the change will mean that those held to be least at risk will be obliged to protect those held to be most at risk. For example, HGV drivers would need to protect regular car drivers who would need to protect cyclists and so on.
There is specific guidance for drivers regarding dealing with cyclists and pedestrians. This reflects the fact that the UK’s roads are being increasingly used by cyclists and pedestrians. The government wishes to encourage this (as part of their commitment to net-zero by 2050). Improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians is, therefore, a high priority.
Tightened laws on mobile usage
It was already illegal to phone or text while driving even at a red light. It is now also illegal to take photos, videos, select a song or play games. Technically there is an exception if the phone is in a cradle and the driver is able to pay suitable attention to the road. In practice, it’s hard to see how any driver could achieve both of these conditions.
Local councils could take over traffic policing
In England and Wales, local councils will be able to apply for the right to issue penalty charges for minor driving offences. This could result in more thorough enforcement. It does, however, also raise the possibility of more penalties being issued in error.
Pavement parking could be banned outside London
It is already illegal to park on the pavement in London. The Westminster government is considering extending this ban to the rest of England and Wales. It seems highly likely that they will do so given the overall trend towards greater safety for pedestrians. If they do go ahead with this change, enforcement will probably rest with local councils.
Scotland has already committed to banning pavement parking. The change is, however, due to take effect in 2023. It is intended to be enforced by local councils.
ISA is to be installed in all new cars
ISA stands for Intelligent Speed Assistance. It is often referred to as a “speed limiter” but this description can be somewhat misleading. In essence, ISA tries to detect the speed limit in any given area and alert the driver if they are going over it. If the driver ignores the alerts, ISA may try to intervene but the driver still has ultimate control.
While this change may sound significant, the reality is that ISA systems are already in wide use. For example, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot/Citroen, Renault and Volvo all fit them to at least some of their models.
ALKS should be introduced
The government has long made it clear that it wants to be at the forefront of the global roll-out of Automated Lane Keeping Systems. From 2022 drivers should be allowed to delegate control of their vehicle where ALKS is in operation. The government has described this as being “self-driving”.
This move, however, is somewhat controversial. The Association of British Insurers has flagged it as being potentially misleading. The car may operate without the driver’s active control but the driver still has ultimate responsibility for the vehicle.
New clean-air zones
Several urban areas are due to implement clean-air zones in 2022. The biggest of these is undoubtedly Manchester. Bradford and Oxford should also have new clean-air rules.
Andrea Easton is the Head of Finance and Operations of Walker Movements, who are specialists in quality second-hand, used trucks and trailers and are global leaders in the trucking industry.