Make sure you enjoy the summer months by staying on the right side of the new laws being rolled out nationwide as well as a host of targeted clampdowns.
Learning to drive in the summer is an ideal time to master your skills thanks to long evenings and (fingers crossed) good weather. But it could all be spoiled by a lack of knowledge about the new rules, regulations and crackdowns being introduced.
Respect the ‘X’
More and more of you are taking advantage of the law introduced in 2018 that allows learners to head out on to a motorway with their instructor.
According to the AA though, 1 in 20 drivers are ignoring the red ‘X’s that appear in the overheard gantries on so-called ‘smart motorways’. The ‘X’ means that the lane below it is closed so you must move into another immediately when it is safe to do so.
Because some motorists are choosing to ignore the ‘X’, the authorities are introducing a new penalty from June 10. It will see the gantry cameras snapping a picture of the offending driver’s car before automatically sending out a £100 fine and adding three points to your licence.
• Read our in-depth guide to smart motorway driving here.
Don’t Be a Litter Lout
Not a new law but an update to an existing one that targets those who think throwing litter out their car is acceptable.
In the past, councils had to prove who lobbed the litter out of a car’s window before fining them. This has now been changed – if anyone in the car chucks their leftover burger wrappers out, the driver will automatically be held responsible and fined £150.
The aim is to create a bigger deterrent that stops folk from clogging up roadsides with garbage; not only is littering bad for environment but it costs money to clean up while also endangering the lives of workers who have to do the clean up.
Avoid Drink Driving
It’s summer so police are carrying out their annual crackdown on drink-driving – and who can blame them?
After all, the number of people killed in road accidents where the driver has been over the limit has shot up by 45% in just two years.
To combat these rising figures, police data shows that in June last year, the number of roadside breath tests rose by 50% compared to the rest of the year (save for December).
Worryingly, the roadside tests revealed that nearly 1 in 10 drivers were over the limit, putting their own lives and those of other road users at risk. The penalties for being caught drink driving are severe – from bans and large fines through to imprisonment.
If you must have a drink before heading out on to the road – we strongly advise against it – then make sure you know the official limits. And remember, nearly a fifth of those arrested for drink driving were caught on the morning after a boozy night.
• Know your limits by checking out the government’s official guide to drink driving limits here.
The police always focus on June as, statistically, it’s a drink drive hotspot. With warmer weather, sporting events and barbeques, June is a month when motorists are more likely to unintentionally drink drive the morning after socialising – posing a risk to themselves and other road users.”
– Hunter Abbott, Managing Director, breathalyser firm AlcoSense Laboratories.
A clampdown on tailgating is currently underway on the M6 with police targeting drivers who follow too closely behind motorists.
The reason is simple – research shows that 1 in 8 road casualties are caused by drivers tailgating. Those caught in the operation will face a £100 fine and three points on their licence.
To avoid getting too close to the car in front, leave a two-second gap between you and the car in front. In wet conditions, double that to four seconds.
Smart motorways image © Highways England
Drink driving limit posters © Road Respect
Breathalyser © West Midlands Police