Drivers have been urged to make sure they are aware of some changes to the Highway Code that are set to be implemented this month.
The update includes new laws on electric cars, as well as tougher rules on using mobile phones behind the wheel. One of the changes means that more motorists could face a £100 fine if they run out of fuel while on the road.
While running out of fuel isn’t an offence in itself, the police can fine drivers if they end up causing a traffic obstruction because of it. This penalty has now been extended to electric cars that run out of charge, and it can also lead to motorists having three points added to their licence, the Daily Record reports.
AA president Edmund King advised: “There can be some genuine reasons for running out of fuel such as a faulty gauge or undetected fuel leak. On occasions cars may get stuck in jams for hours due to bad winter weather or miles of disruption which could result in running out of fuel.
“Hence we advise to always have at least one quarter of a tank of fuel. Likewise, some EV drivers might run low or out of charge if several chargers aren’t working.
“One would hope that police officers would be reasonable in those circumstances. But where drivers negligently run on fumes, leaving themselves and others in danger on the road, the weight of the law can be brought to bear on them.
“Don’t be a fuel gambler by running on fumes,” he warned. The AA said that more than 10,500 breakdowns last year were due to drivers of electric cars running out of fuel or charge.
Additionally, tougher rules on using mobile phones while driving have now come into force. Previously, motorists could be fined up to £200 and get six points on their licence for using their phone behind the wheel – and this penalty has now been extended to cover any other electronic device, such as a sat nav or tablet.
A number of other driving law changes have come into force this month, including several councils across the UK being given more traffic powers allowing them to fine drivers for offences that could previously only be dealt with by police. Plans have also been proposed to limit newly-passed drivers under the age of 25 from carrying passengers under the same age limit in their vehicle.
It’s hoped that the move, which has been termed a “graduated driving licence”, would help to boost road safety and reduce the risk of accidents. The plan is set to be further debated by Transport Minister Richard Holden at a road safety meeting on May 16.
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