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New Driving Laws in 2024 - What You Need To Know

Rhino Trade Insurance 03 March 2024

If you've got your hands full with a toolbox, steering wheel, and maybe a cup of strong tea, we're here to ensure you're up to speed on the latest changes hitting the roads in 2024. Buckle up, because the driving laws are getting a makeover, and you don't want to be caught in the rearview mirror scratching your head. From electric dreams to stricter penalties, Rhino Trade Insurance has the lowdown on what you need to know to keep your wheels rolling smoothly.

Electric Avenue: Green Machines Rule

Get ready to say goodbye to the hum of diesel and petrol engines and hello to the quiet revolution of electric vehicles (EVs). The government is increasing the volume of eco-friendly transportation, aiming to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035. This policy is known simply as the 'Zero Emission Mandate'. Also, by 2030, 80% of cars and 70% of vans will have zero emissions! But what does this mean for you, a tradesperson with a van full of tools?

Well, it's time to start thinking about switching to electric. The government is offering incentives for businesses to adopt electric vehicles, including tax breaks and grants (£2,500 for small vans and a chunky £5k for large vans); they also have giveaways for installing charging points. While the upfront cost might give you a shock, the long-term savings on fuel and maintenance could be a game-changer for your trade business. Plus, you'll be doing your bit for the planet - not bad for a day's work, right?

Clean Air Zones: Don't Get Caught in the Fog

To tackle air pollution head-on, Clean Air Zones (CAZs) Or ULEZ (if you live in London) are cropping up in cities across the UK. These zones restrict access to vehicles that don't meet certain emission standards, and if your van doesn't make the cut, you could face hefty fines.

To avoid getting stuck in the fog of non-compliance, keep an eye on the emission standards for the areas you frequent. Upgrading to a greener vehicle might be the key to unlocking the city gates and keeping your trade business on the road. Remember, prevention is better than a pocketful of fines, so plan your routes wisely.

Along with London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Portsmouth and Newcastle, More clean air zones are planned for 2024, with Dundee, Edinburgh and Aberdeen being added to this list. 

Smart Motorways: No Longer a Thing?

Smart motorways were becoming the norm. They have their own set of rules: variable speed limits, lane closures, and the all-seeing eyes of traffic cameras mean you need to keep your wits about you when cruising down these technologically enhanced roads.

The UK government decided to not build any more smart motorways in 2024. Construction on 11 smart motorways has been put on hold, and 3 that were supposed to start have been abandoned. As the M56 and M6 smart motorways are already more than three-quarters completed, they will be finished. Every smart motorway that has already been built will stay. 

The M1, M3, M4, M5, M6, M20, M25, and M23 are among the existing smart motorways that will remain in operation. However, they will undergo continuous safety upgrades, resulting in additional 'Emergency Refuge Areas'.

It's worth making sure you're clued up on the latest signage and be prepared to adapt to changing speed limits - the days of setting the cruise control and zoning out are over. Ignoring the rules of the smart motorway game could lead to fines or, worse yet, a run-in with the Police. Stay alert and stay informed.

What Else Is Changing in 2024 and Beyond?

  • A government 'plan for drivers' includes reviewing low-traffic neighbourhoods, guidance on 20mph zones, a new national parking platform, and much more.
  • Electric vehicles are about to be taxed with changes to the vehicle excise duty. 
  • HGV drivers will need a three-star rating or hold a 'progressive safe system' to avoid charges and penalties in London.
  • More 20mph zones in Wales.
  • New fines for pavement parking in Scotland. 

Let's Not Forget These Road Rules

Penalty Points: No Room for Slip-Ups

We get it - life on the road can be hectic, and everyone makes mistakes. But the consequences of those mistakes just got a little more serious. The government has tightened the screws on penalty points recently, and accumulating enough of them could see you swapping your van for a pedal bike.

Keep an eye on your speed, resist the urge to answer that call without hands-free, and for the love of all things trade-related, don't let your temper get the better of you on the road. It's not just your driving record at stake - it's your livelihood. A few extra minutes in traffic is a small price to pay compared to the headache of losing your licence or a potential customer.

Mobile Madness: Hang Up or Pay Up

We've all been tempted to check that text or answer a call while on the road, but with all the new driving laws in 2024 we have mentioned, you might want to think twice about using your phone. The penalties for using a handheld mobile phone, sat nav or other device while driving have been ramped up, and rightfully so.

If caught with your phone in hand, you could be looking at a hefty fine and six points on your licence. That's not just a slap on the wrist - it's a red card for dangerous play on the road. Invest in a good hands-free setup, and keep your focus where it belongs: on the road and the tools of your trade.

Drinking and Driving: The Hangover You Don't Want

While it might sound like common sense, it's worth reiterating: don't mix business with booze on the road. The legal limit for blood alcohol content remains the same, but the penalties for exceeding it have become more severe.

After a hard day's work, a drink is fine, but if you're hitting the town after clocking off, leave the van at home. The risk of losing your licence and livelihood isn't worth the price of a pint!

Insurance: Cover Your Back(side)

As the saying goes, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. With the new driving laws listed, having the right insurance is more crucial than ever. Ensure your policy covers all the bases, including any new regulations specific to your trade. Having too much coverage is better than not enough when the unexpected happens.

Get In Touch With Rhino

So, there you have it - your comprehensive guide to the new driving laws hitting the roads in 2024. Whilst we have you, don't forget your trade insurance. Fortunately, Rhino offers amazing protection for a whole manner of tradespeople. We can provide you with a quote in seconds that is fully tailored to your trade. Contact us for more info today - 0116 243 7904 or check out our website

About The Author Phil McCormick

Experienced in brand marketing and content. Most of that lovely communication you see online will be from Phil. social media, emails, videos, how to make a bacon sarny? You get the gist!

Trade most identified with: Electrician - It’s our Phil’s job to map out all our communications and make sure the signal works! Also, he’s one of the cockiest blighters in the team so electrician fits perfectly!

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