Seven new driving laws coming into force this year – including important change all drivers need to be aware of TODAY

THIS year will see seven new driving laws come into force.

And as of today, one big change to number plates takes effect.

New cars registered from today will be given a 22 tag, rather than the current 71.

And number plates for cars and vans will be made from a new, tougher material.

From now on they will also only display solid black lettering, after plates that used different shades to create a 3D or 4D effect were banned.

Experts said Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) can better read the new plates.

There are also six other new laws being put in place in 2022.

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Mobile phones

Tough new laws will crack down on people who try to sneakily use their phones while driving.

While it has been illegal to use a mobile phone while driving since 2003, tough new rules will make it illegal to even tap the screen while the engine is still running.

This includes waking up your phone to check the time or notifications, take a photo or select a song.

You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it is unsafe or impractical to stop.

Drivers can also use their mobiles for contactless payments if a vehicle is stationary at a drive-thru takeaway.

Anyone found flouting these laws could face a £200 fine.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Too many deaths and injuries occur while mobile phones are being held.

"By making it easier to prosecute people illegally using their phone at the wheel, we are ensuring the law is brought into the 21st century while further protecting all road users."

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)

Car tax, or VED, is about to shoot up in April.

The new VED rates will only effect brand new cars that were registered from April 1, 2017 onwards.

Car tax is currently split in two parts, one part being an annual road tax, which is a payment of £155 after the first year.

The annual road tax will rise by £10 making the new cost £165 from April 1, 2022 onwards.

The second part is the VED and the cost of this will all depend on how much CO2 emission your car releases for the first years payment.

This format means those cars producing larger amounts of CO2 emissions will be subject to higher VED costs.

The price of VED has risen in all but two brackets for 2022, 1g to 5g/km and 51g to 75g/km.

Those cars producing over 255g/km of CO2 emissions, the highest bracket, will see their VED tax rise by £130 compared to the current rate.

On top of any extra charges, cars that cost more than £40,000 will have to pay a higher one-off standard fee of £490, which is a jump up from the current cost of £335.

The increase is in line with Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation, with a hope to push more drivers towards eco-friendly or electric cars.

Red diesel and rebated biofuels

As of April 1, 2022, the lawful use of red diesel and rebated biofuels will be restricted.

However, it will mainly affect businesses as red diesel tends to be used for off-road machines, like bulldozers and cranes.

It is also used to power drills for oil extraction.

The reforms are in a bid to promote more sustainable fuels.

Electric vehicle chargers

This year, scores more EV charging points will be installed across the UK.

All new build houses will be required to have an EV charging point, too.

Building regulations will require developers to install electric charging points on new properties from next year.

Some145,000 new charge points are to be installed across England each year, with motorists being able to use them at home, supermarkets and workplaces.

As well as new homes and non-residential buildings, any properties undergoing major renovations, which will have more than 10 parking spaces, will also be required to install EV charging points.

Speed limiters for new cars

New cars will be fitted with speed limiters from July 6.

The Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) technology will alert drivers when they are going too fast and can intervene if people continue to drive above the limit.

It will use traffic-sign recognition cameras and GPS data to determine the speed limit on a road.

It will then automatically limit the engine power and a vehicle's speed if the driver does not slow down themselves.

The new rules were provisionally agreed by the EU, but it is expected to also apply in the UK – despite Brexit.

Expansion of clean air zones

Local clean air zones charges aim to decrease the number of journeys and lower pollution.

Motorists in Bath and Birmingham face an extra daily road charge.

Birmingham's scheme will charge drivers up to £8 per day in the city centre while a clean air zone is also being considered in Bristol.

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