Every year, the UK government produces new driving rules. This has become more significant over the years because of the ongoing campaign for zero emissions and the impending ban on petrol and diesel vehicles. Some rules are created to help improve air quality, while there are driving rules that are intended to keep drivers and travellers safe on the road.
For 2023, the UK government is improving several existing rules while some new ones were created to address non-emissions-related issues.
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New Clean Air Zones
UK’s Clean Air Zones (CAZs) have been around since November of 2022, but new zones are opened now and then. This year, Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead) is set to begin its Clean Air Zone. Drivers going in and around the area will be required to pay a charge if their vehicle emits high levels of toxic fumes.
Implementation of the charges was pushed back from 2022 to January 30, 2023. The grace period was necessary as it allowed drivers/car owners to adjust and upgrade their vehicles according to global and national vehicle supply issues.
Expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone
London’s ULEZ or Ultra-Low Emission Zone will be expanded beginning August 29, 2023. This is the third expansion of the zone. At present, the ULEZ coverage includes only some areas of Central London. With the newest expansion, coverage will include all the city’s 33 boroughs.
Mobile Phone Use
All drivers are expected to follow new rules for the use of mobile phones while driving. It is now against the law to use mobile phones while inside a vehicle. Even if a driver is just holding the phone while stationary (in a queue or while waiting for the traffic light), they will be violating driving rules. This is also true when using a sat-nav device or a tablet while riding or driving a vehicle (including a motorcycle).
The only exception to the rule is when the driver is parked in a safe area, when using the phone to contact 999, or when the driver is in a drive-thru and has to use the phone to pay.
BiK or Benefit-in-Kind Tax
The BiK car tax is a tax intended for employees whose company vehicle is used for personal purposes. The car’s value is used as the basis for the amount that employees must pay. They pay only a percentage of the total value, and this is often dependent on factors such as the employee’s salary.
Employees using petrol-powered vehicles have to contend with the 25% increase (from 13%). However, the government assured drivers that the current rate will remain the same until 2025. This is one way of encouraging drivers to shift to electric vehicles (EVs).
Zero-Emissions London Private Hire Vehicles
Since January 1, 2023, first-time-licensed private hire vehicles in London have been zero-emissions capable. This is one of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s projects aimed at reducing toxic air in the capital. It is also a significant step towards the fulfilment of the 2030 net-zero-carbon city.
Why the UK sets new driving rules every year
Changing or improving driving rules every year is one way of ensuring that the entire UK population contributes to the goal of improving air quality. Diesel vehicles are the major cause of excessive emissions across the country, especially with the repercussions of the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal still being felt not only in the UK but throughout Europe.
The Dieselgate scandal in 2015 had the Volkswagen Group answering to allegations of defeat device use in their Audi and VW diesel vehicles. The device is programmed to detect when a vehicle is in testing so it can lower emissions levels to within the legal limits. The reduced emissions, though, are only good during test conditions. Once the vehicle is brought out of the lab for real-world road driving, it goes back to releasing considerable amounts of nitrogen oxide or NOx.
NOx emissions have dangerous impacts. It destroys vegetation, produces the pollutant ground-level ozone, triggers depression and anxiety, and causes a decline in cognitive health (leading to dementia). Health impacts include lung problems, asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Exposure to NOx emissions can also lead to premature death.
Volkswagen is not the only carmaker alleged to have used defeat devices; many others did the same, including Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The BMW emissions scandal happened right after the carmaker was accused of allegedly colluding with VW and Mercedes’ parent company Daimler to limit new technology for cleaner emissions. Thousands upon thousands of BMWs are affected by the diesel emissions scandal.
Carmakers implicated in the scandal lied to their customers in exchange for profit. They should be held liable through a diesel claim.
Can I file my diesel claim?
If your vehicle is fitted with a defeat device, you should file a BMW diesel claim against your carmaker. If successful, you can receive compensation. To find out if your vehicle is affected and if you are eligible to file a case, visit ClaimExperts.co.uk. They’ll provide you with all the information you need to determine your next step.
Work with an emissions expert who can help you decide whether to file the claim on your own or as part of the GLO (Group Litigation Order).