A number of new laws have been introduced on UK roads this year, with restrictions on smoking, drug-driving and even a change to the type of license motorists carry.
Here is a listed explanation of those changes, which all motorists should make themselves aware of before they next get behind the wheel.
A change to Scotland’s drink-drive laws
Since the end of 2014, the legal drink-drive limit in Scotland has been lower than the rest of the United Kingdom. Scottish drivers are allowed a maximum of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, while other UK countries are allowed 80mg.
Anyone planning to drive from England to Scotland after a drink should therefore be wary as they may find themselves over the limit once they have driven across the border.
Smoking with child passengers will be illegal
A new law will make it an offence to smoke in cars with children. From 1st October 2014, anyone caught lighting up while carrying a passenger who is under the age of 18 is expected to be fined or receive points on their license. This fine could rise to as high as £10,000 for drivers who fail to stop passengers smoking in a vehicle that is carrying a child.
Vaping in cars remains legal
E-cigarette vaping will remain legal for the time being at least, with evidence continuing to emerge which suggests they are a cleaner and safer alternative to smoking tobacco.
Vaping also poses less of a health and safety risk to your car, as there is no need for lighting and ashing. Most major electronic cigarette retailers such as TABlites, Kik and Vapourlites sell vaping devices and liquids with an array of scents and flavours that will leave no lingering smell or stain to the car’s interior.
Paper driving license scrapped
The DVLA stopped issuing paper driving licenses from 8th June onwards. Although any paper licenses issued before 1998 will remain valid (and should not be destroyed), your driving license status and penalty points will now be recorded on the DVLA’s central database instead.
A database will also axe the tax disc
Displaying a tax disc was no longer a requirement from October 2014, but this year is when most motorists will deal with the change. Drivers do not need to worry about the pesky cut-out tax disc being displayed on their car windshield, as DVLA are also keeping record of this on their computer – just make sure you remember when your tax is actually due to expire!
Offensive number plates banned
It has been a busy year for legislation at the DVLA, the licensing authority also recently released a list of banned number plates which they found to be in poor taste and too offensive for the road.
Senior members of the agency gather together every six months to discuss which plates they think should be banned. Anyone looking to ensure their plate is safe from the ‘DVLA seniors’’ blacklist should use a personalised number plate specialists such as Click4Reg, which can offer drivers a huge range of custom plates that are legal and inoffensive for the road.