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Help & Advice: UK Driving Laws Explained

UK Driving Laws Explained

Last updated on February 26th, 2021 What does this mean?

In an effort to educate and inform the British public about the various ins and outs of UK driving laws and why they matter, the team here at The Windscreen Company have put together a series of articles about the many different road laws and their necessity.

We’ve also put together the handy infographic below with all the information you need summarised in one location. Below the graphic you will find explanations on why we need driving laws, how they’re run and the risks of not paying proper attention to them.

UK driving laws infographic

Before we commence our UK driving law series, we thought it best to start with the basics: why we need laws, how they function and the consequences of not obeying.

Driving in the UK

There are 30 million current drivers in the UK, and with such a vast amount of cars on the roads everyday, monitoring and regulating those drivers is of the utmost importance to prevent accidents and collisions. Our excellent Department of Transport work tirelessly to make our roads as safe as possible, and as a result have one of the best road safety records in the world.

Government research has reported that in 2014, there were 45% fewer fatalities than in 2004. While this is initially a fantastic result, and proves that our roads are much safer now than they were a decade ago, it is also worth noting that the statistic for 2014 showed higher numbers of fatalities than in 2012 and 2013, so there is still a way to go to make our roads safe for everyone.

Why we need driving laws

By setting out a very specific way of using the roads and treating other motorists and pedestrians, it is easier for us all to predict the behaviour of others around us, and thus make a more cohesive and safe way of driving.

This eliminates sporadic driving and uncertainty that could not only endanger lives but also cause delays and traffic jams as every motorist tries to drive in accordance with their own rules. A structured way of driving is safer and makes driving more stress-free, which is why we need driving laws.

Why UK driving laws should be respected

Driving laws are necessary to protect motorists from killing or injuring themselves, other motorists or pedestrians so should always be treated with the utmost respect. One inconsiderate move, lapse of judgement or momentary distraction can be the difference between life and death so all driving laws need to be obeyed to make sure that everyone who uses the roads and streets in the UK is protected.

The penalties for ignoring UK driving laws

The government issues penalty points for road traffic offences, with the maximum penalties given reflecting the seriousness of the offence committed. If a driver accumulates 12 penalty points over 3 years, the driver will be disqualified from driving for at least 6 months.

In the case of very serious driving offences, such as driving under the influence, courts must disqualify drivers for a minimum period of 12 months for first time offenders, and even longer for repeat offenders. In 2014, there were 37,853 convictions for drink-driving, a figure that has been consistently decreasing since 2004, when the figure stood at 74,055, thanks to our harsh punishments and publicity drive to prevent drink-driving.

There are also fines and even prison sentences given out for serious driving offences. Here we have a table of the maximum penalties you could receive for committing various offences:

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Enforcing UK traffic laws

The Department of Transport is the governing body that is responsible for setting out road and traffic laws, but it is up to the police to enforce the laws and ensure that all drivers are obeying them. Speed cameras and traffic officers are used to keep motorists in check and issue on-the-spot fines, where necessary, and the police can be involved with dangerous drivers and thefts, making enforcing traffic laws a job for all in the policing unit. Motorists are also advised to report any driving offences they see by calling their local police unit (or 999 when a dangerous situation arises) and making a note of the car’s licence plate.

Checking the laws

If you’re uncertain of any of the laws, it is crucial that you look them up before you drive a vehicle again – not only to prevent yourself from being penalised, but also to ensure that you are operating your vehicle safely. All of the information you need is available in The Highway Code, available here.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming series for detailed information on the the laws around seatbelts, drink driving, road signs, mobile phones and more.

The Windscreen Company

For high quality windscreen repairs or replacement in the east of England, look no further than The Windscreen Company. With our 24 hours a day call centre and fitting service, as well as our highly trained team of technicians, we can offer you a fast, efficient and professional service from beginning to end. Simply get in contact today to find out more.

The information within this article was accurate on the date the article was last updated based on the information that was openly available on the topic online. The Windscreen Company accepts no liability for any loss or damage caused by or connected with any error or omission in this article. You should make your own judgement in regards to use of this document and seek professional advice on your particular circumstances.


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