Drivers risk thousands in fines for ‘common mistake’ amid driving law changes06/02/2022
What changes are being made to the Highway Code?
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Several new changes were introduced to the driving law yesterday, with motorists now being more likely to receive a fine. The changes included new council powers, electric car home chargers, and clean air zones.
The new law means that councils across the UK will receive additional power to fine drivers.
From yesterday, local councils have the ability to punish drivers for common traffic offences such as stopping in a box junction.
This also applies to a “common mistake” that drivers make by driving onto a bus lane.
On top of that, the punishment for anyone who uses a bus lane without permission has increased from £60 to £70.
Before the changes came into force, it was up to the local councils to decide how much motorists would get fined.
This, however, has now changed to a UK-wide fee that applies everywhere.
The only exception is London where the fees for using a bus lane are much higher.
Drivers can be fined as much as £160 for making the “common mistake” in the capital.
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According to the Government, the increase in fines is supposed to bring them in line with the amount drivers pay for “high-level parking offences”.
Baroness Vere of Norbiton, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport, said: “We have used this opportunity to repeal the bus lane enforcement regime, in place since 2005 under the Transport Act 2000, to create a single enforcement regime under the 2004 Act; that includes bus lane enforcement.”
She continued: “As moving traffic and bus lane contraventions are of a type, we are increasing bus lane penalties by £10 to align with contraventions of moving traffic and higher-level parking contraventions —for example, parking in a disabled bay.”
AA president Edmund King disagreed saying: “Bus lane fines are set to go up by more than twice the rate of already rampant UK inflation.
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“With finances for so many on a knife-edge, losing a day’s wages for mistakenly wandering into a bus lane could push many over the edge.”
Several motoring experts have also urged drivers not to let the new bus lane rules “wreak havoc” in their lives.
One expert told Express.co.uk that motorists should familiarise themselves with the new law in order to avoid some hefty fines.
Dorry Potter, car and scrappage expert at National Scrap Car, said: “It should be very clear when approaching an area where there is an operational bus lane to ensure it is fair to motorists.
“As far as it being a cash cow, after the pandemic councils are finding whatever ways they can to regain money lost, and motorist fines such as illegal parking and driving in the bus lane are two of those ways.
“However, they do not become cash cows unless motorists are ignoring the rules that are allowing them to become a cash cow in the first place. “
The expert added: “If a bus lane is fairly signposted then it should be considered the same as any other road sign.
“If you see the speed limit is 40 and you decide to go 50 you risk a fine, similarly if you see there is a bus lane with specific rules, such as do not use between 8am-5pm for example and you do, then you are knowingly putting yourself at risk of receiving a fine.”
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