Are you up to speed with changes for motorists?

Change is all around us, and motoring is no exception. In fact, it seems to be quite a dramatic time of change for motorists. During 2022 there are at least seven significant changes that motorists need to be aware of.

But how will these changes affect you?

In this article we take a look at what these changes mean for you.

  1. A new hierarchy of road users

A hierarchy of road users is to be introduced in the UK from the end of January. It will become part of the Highway Code. However, a recent survey found that only around a third of drivers are aware of this.

The hierarchy is designed to protect the most vulnerable road users, primarily pedestrians and cyclists. 


As can be seen from the image below, the new hierarchy gives pedestrians top priority, and places responsibility on other road users to be aware of, and do all they can to limit, the danger they could cause to others. 

The main changes in conjunction with the new hierarchy are that:

  • pedestrians have priority over cars at junctions and crossings;

  • pedestrians have priority on pavements;

  • cyclists and horse riders have priority when travelling straight ahead at junctions.

The Highway Code changes are part of a £338 million government package aimed at boosting walking and cycling, and helping to make air cleaner and cities greener. Another key change related to this are Low and Ultra Low Emission Zones.

  1. Ultra Low Emission Zones

The aim of Ultra Low Emission Zones is to help clean up the air in our cities. In London, the Ultra Low Emission Zone – ULEZ – was extended on 25th October 2021. It now operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year apart from Christmas Day. Areas now covered by ULEZ can be seen by entering a postcode or location on the Transport for London (TFL) website.

The London ULEZ requires drivers of the following vehicles that do not meet the required low emissions standards to pay a levy of £12.50 for bringing their vehicle into ULEZ:

  • Cars.

  • Motorbikes

  • Lorries, vans and specialist vehicles up to and including 3.5 tonnes.

  • Buses, minibuses and coaches up to and including 5 tonnes.

As a rough guide, petrol vehicles registered after 2005, and diesel vehicles registered after 2015, should meet ULEZ emissions standards so will not have to pay the levy. However, an estimated one in five vehicles using the London ULEZ will be liable to pay the daily ULEZ levy because they do not meet these requirements. 

You can check the emissions status of any vehicle by entering its registration number on the TFL website.

Several other cities across the UK have ULEZ or LEZ (Low Emission Zone) in place for private cars or are planning to introduce them during 2022. Birmingham currently has ULEZ and charges non-compliant cars to enter. Other cities planning to introduce charges for non-compliant cars during 2022 include Bristol, Oxford and possibly Liverpool.

The four largest Scottish cities – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee – plan to introduce LEZ during 2022, with the intention of banning all cars apart from electric cars. However, these LEZ systems will not be fully enforced until 2024.

  1. London Congestion Charge

The London Congestion Charge also still applies to all vehicles entering the Congestion Charge Zone even if they have also paid the ULEZ charge. The Congestion Charge Zone includes most of central London and can be seen on the TFL website.

The Congestion Charge currently operates between 07:00-22:00 every day of the year, except Christmas Day. It uses ANPR to track a vehicle’s entry to the Congestion Charge Zone and if payment (currently £15) is not made within 3 days, a penalty charge of £160 will be issued.

Consultation is now taking place on the future operation of the Congestion Charge. This may result in the hours being reduced to 12:00-18:00, but this has yet to be agreed.

  1. Electric cars

As part of the UK’s target of achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned by 2030, and of new hybrid cars from 2035. 

To support this initiative, in 2022 there will be a requirement on all new homes, supermarkets and workplaces to install electric car charging points, and all properties undergoing major renovations will also be required to include charging points. 

So if you are thinking of changing your car in the near future, you may want to consider going electric. Our recent article Are you ready to change to an electric car? covers this topic in more detail. And, if you need to plug any gaps in your finances to be able to change your car, remember that Munzee offers 24 month loans that could help.

  1. Use of mobile phones in cars

The current law regarding use of mobile phones in cars is that a driver can only be penalised for using a handheld mobile phone if they are using it for some kind of interactive communication. This means that other uses – such as scrolling through music, taking photos or recording video – can currently legally be done when driving.

However this is expected to change during 2022 with new laws to make using a handheld phone when driving illegal. This includes when stopped in traffic or at a red light. Drivers will still be able to use phones for hands-free calls or as sat-navs if secured in a holder. Drivers could be fined £200 and receive up to six points on their licence for breaking the new rules.

  1. Local councils to have new powers for traffic offence fines

Another little-known change due to happen this year is that local councils will be given the power to deal with minor traffic offences – including fines of up to £70 – such as:

  • Illegal turns;

  • Driving in a no entry zone; 

  • Stopping in a box junction; 

  • Driving the wrong way on a one-way street; 

  • Illegal U-turns;

  • Driving in cycle lanes; 

  • Failing to give way to oncoming traffic.

Parking on the pavement may also join this list of offences during 2022. It is already illegal in London and this is expected to be extended to the rest of England and Wales.

  1. Increase in driving technology

Technology is continually moving forward, in the motoring industry as much as anywhere else. Two aspects of technology will become more significant during 2022:

  • Driverless cars

So-called driverless cars are likely to be permitted on motorways during 2022.

What this means in reality is that if your car has an Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) you will be able to operate this on a motorway, and legally take your hands off the wheel. The ALKS will keep you in the correct lane even if your hands are not on the wheel.

  • Speed limiters

From July, all new cars will need to be fitted with Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) speed limiter, and all new models sold before that date will have to be updated by 7 July 2024. 

An ISA uses GPS to work out what the speed limit is and will then sound a warning if the car exceeds the speed and make the accelerator pedal unresponsive until the car is at the required speed. 

The ISA system can be turned off and is also overridable by firmly pressing the accelerator. But it is still expected to make a significant contribution to road safety.

We hope that this article has helped you get up to speed with some of the significant changes for motorists during 2022, so that you can prepare accordingly.

Remember to check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Munzee Loans.