This year there are going to be some changes to the driving laws being enforced across the UK. If you work as a driver it’s important you’re aware of them to ensure you keep yourself and others safe – and to avoid getting any fines or penalties! To help with this, we’ve put together a list of the seven major changes that will impact professional drivers in 2022 and beyond.
New hierarchy of road users
The Highway Code has been updated to priorities road users that are vulnerable. The hierarchy is as follows:
- Horse riders
- Large passenger vehicles / heavy goods vehicles
This means that drivers have a greater responsibility for the safety of pedestrians and other road users and that drivers need to ensure they’re also following the subsequent rules to keep pedestrians safe.
If pedestrians are waiting at a junction or crossing, drivers should give way and allow them to cross.
If you want to turn into a road and you notice a pedestrian waiting to cross, you should allow them to do so before turning into the road. What’s more, if you’re driving up to a junction and notice a pedestrian waiting to cross, you must allow them to cross before you reach the junction.
All drivers, motorcyclists, and cyclists must give way to pedestrians using a zebra crossing.
Overtaking other road users
You can overtake a cyclist or a horse rider if they are travelling at less than 10mph on double white lines, as long as it’s safe to do so.
If you’re overtaking a cyclist at 30mph you should leave a distance of at least 1.5 metres or five feet. If you’re overtaking at higher speeds you need to give them even more space.
Horses can spook easily, so you shouldn’t pass them at a speed higher than 10mph.
When you’re passing a pedestrian that is walking along the road, if there is no path for example, you must leave a distance of at least 2 metres or 6.5 feet.
When you’re driving on a roundabout you should give priority to cyclists, riders, or horse-drawn vehicles. They should stay in the left-hand lane when they’re on a roundabout, even if they are going right around the roundabout.
Drivers must not cut across vulnerable road users when they enter the roundabout. Drivers should never attempt to overtake cyclists or riders that are in their lane, and they should allow them to move across their lane while they travel around the roundabout.
Getting out of your vehicle safely
When getting out of their vehicle, drivers are now encouraged to open their door using the hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. This is because opening the door in this way makes drivers look over their shoulder behind them so that they can see any cyclists, motorists, or pedestrians before opening the door, reducing the likelihood of accidents.
The laws around mobile phones have become stricter than ever. Drivers are not allowed to touch their phone in any way, shape, or form whilst driving. The only exception is if you are stationary and need to make a contactless payment such as when you’re on a toll road. Anyone caught holding their device will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.
Drivers can still use their devices’ ‘hands-free’ when driving, as long as it is safely secured in a cradle and does not block their view of the road. However, they must remain vigilant while they are driving or they could be charged with another driving offence if the police find them to not be in proper control of their vehicle.
Clean air zones
Manchester will be launching its Clear Air Zone (CAZ) on the 30th May 2022. The CAZ will apply to:
- Hackney cabs and private hire vehicles
- Motorhomes and camper vans
These vehicles may have to pay up to £60 per day to enter the CAZ. Motorbikes, mopeds, and private cars shouldn’t be affected.
Bath, Birmingham, and Portsmouth already have clean air or low emission zones, while Bradford and Oxford are working to implement their own. However, rollout has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minor traffic offences
Councils will soon have the power to fine motorists up to £70 for minor motoring offences, rather than the police holding sole responsible for this. This will be the first time that councils outside of London and Cardiff have been allowed to issue penalty charges for these types of offences.
Parking on pavements
In London, it’s already illegal to park on pavements, but this is highly likely to change in 2022. Scotland has already enacted a bill to outlaw all parking on pavements from 2023, but the same is likely to come in sooner across England and Wales.
Councils will also be able to fine motorists £70 for parking on pavements.
The changes follow a public consultation on a review of The Highway Code to improve road safety for people walking, cycling, and riding horses. It ran from July to October 2020, and received more than 20,000 responses from the public, businesses, and other organisations.
If you’d like to learn more about recent changes to The Highway Code, you can do so by visiting the Gov.uk website here.