As we welcome a new month, there are a few law changes which affect drivers and vehicle owners. Here is what you need to know.
Driving licence extension
With the pressures of the pandemic, the government placed an extension on driving licences, allowing an 11-month grace period on licences which were due for renewal between February 1st and 31st December 2020. If your licence expired in October 2020, it will now be invalid, and you only have a couple of months left on licences that would have become invalid later in 2020.
Failure to drive without a valid licence could result in a £1,000 fine, so check yours and, if it has expired or is due to expire soon, get your application into the DVLA as soon as possible. If you have a valid passport, and if it is a straightforward renewal, the process should be relatively quick and easy to do online. Once you have confirmation that your application is in progress, you can continue to drive, even if your licence is no longer valid.
71 plate released
September saw the release of the brand new 71 number plates. Aside from the new number, the government has replaced the BS AU 145d regulations governing standard plates with the BS AU 145e standard. It won’t make a huge amount of difference to owners of older vehicles, but the new standard is designed to ensure that number plates are durable and remain easy to read. Under these new guidelines, only solid black lettering is allowed, meaning that the plates can be easily read by ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras. While older vehicles that meet the BAS AY 145d standard won’t need to be changed, new vehicles failing to meet the new standard could be subjected to a £1,000 fine.
From September, the E10 fuel standard is present in all fuel stations in the UK (with Northern Ireland expecting to meet the standard at the beginning of 2022). Currently, petrol contains less than 5% ethanol (E5). Under E10, up to 10% renewable ethanol must be contained in petrol, to help reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide in petrol vehicles.
Through the installation of E10 nationwide, the use of cleaner fuel could help us to reduce the nation’s CO2 emissions by around 750,000 tonnes a year. Petrol pumps will be labelled E10 or E5, allowing road users to make an informed choice when they refill.
Most petrol vehicles are compatible with E10; if you are in doubt, check with your local garage or use the free online compatibility checker provided by the government. If your vehicle is not compatible with E10, you will still be able to buy E5, but it may be more expensive.
With increasing attention on vehicles and emissions, it is important that you make the right choices when investing in a new vehicle. Speak to your local dealer and make sure that you do plenty of research to ensure that your vehicle is compatible with emissions regulations now, and in the future.