DVLA warnings – Three MAJOR changes for drivers this month that could lead to a £1,000 fine; new laws and driver tips

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DRIVERS have been warned to be aware of three changes to road rules this month to avoid fines of up to £1,000.

The DVLA has told motorists to double check whether they are affected by the changes, which includes the end of driving licence extensions.

Other new regulations coming this month include new clean air zones and changes to towing rules.

We explain what the changes are and how you can avoid getting a fine of up to £1,000.

Read our DVLA warnings live blog below for full list of laws as well as other updates and tips…

  • Louis Allwood

    Who can tell on you?

    Guidance by the General Medical Council encourages doctors to "tell on" motorists to the DVLA as a last resort if they think they're ignoring medical advice and still driving.

    But it goes against general medical ethics that say what you discuss with a GP is confidential.

    Other motorists can also report drivers confidentially if they believe they're flouting medical rules and continuing to drive.

  • Louis Allwood

    Is it illegal to drive with your car interior lights on?

    HAVING the interior lights on in your car can be distracting – but is it actually illegal?

    It's a common myth than having the inside lights on when driving could land you in trouble.

    You might have been told that having the interior lights of a car on when the vehicle is moving is illegal and could get you a fine or points on your licence.

    But this is actually one of the biggest motoring myths out there.

    There is actually no specific law that says you can't have the lights on in your car when you're behind the wheel.

    According to the AA, this is something which a lot of people think is fact but there's no actual law against it.

    Keeping up to date with the latest road rules is important if you want to avoid an unexpected fine.

  • Louis Allwood

    How much is the fine for having a dirty licence plate?

    Police are cracking down on drivers who have dirty or obstructed number plates on their cars.

    Number plates are important, as they let the owner and the police know when and where the vehicle is registered.

    Drivers with dirty licence plates or ones that are hard to read may face a fine of up to £1,000.

    The fine is to act as a deterrent and a reminder to drivers in the UK to check their licence plates on a regular basis.

  • Louis Allwood

    Can I be fined for only having a paper licence? 

    Drivers cannot be fined for having a paper licence if all of their details are valid.

    But if their information is incorrect they could face massive penalties.

    Police can issue fines of up to £1,000 to a driver if they don’t tell them of a change of address.

    Driving licence photos must be replaced every 10 years – with a £10,000 fine also slapped on drivers who have outdated pictures.

    Renewals cost £14 online and £17 by post.

    Licences must be renewed when the driver hits 70 years old – with subsequent renewals every three years. 

  • Louis Allwood

    Are old-style paper driving licences still valid? 

    A paper-only licence is still valid if it is fully up to date.

    From 1998 – when the paper-only system was scrapped – a plastic licence was handed out along with the old-school paper counterpart.

    The paper licence allowed drivers to keep an eye on the points they were slapped with.

    But, on June 8 2015, the paper system was abandoned all together to be replaced with an online database.

    A driver who has both a plastic and paper licence can destroy the paper version.

  • Louis Allwood

    'I got £100 back after a pothole burst my tyre and it took 10 minutes' – how you can do it too

    MUM-of-one Kerry Hyde and her fiance Mark Barber were driving back from a holiday in Scotland in 2018 when suddenly they heard a loud bang.

    They pulled over and realised a pothole had blown their tyre.

    Luckily they were prepared and had a spare tyre and were quickly back on the road.

    But firefighter Kerry, from Cambridgeshire, made a note of where they were and the next day she checked on FixMyStreet to see if the pothole had been previously reported – and it had.

    It took the 33-year-old just 10 minutes to put her claim in.

    Depending on where the pothole is, drivers can claim compensation from a local council or Highways England.

    If a pothole has already been reported to either organisations, then the likelihood of getting a pay out increases. 

    This is because the council, or Highways England, was already made aware of the pothole – but failed to do anything about it.

    Read more here

  • Louis Allwood

    Driving in fog tips from the Met Office

    The Met Office have release top 5 tips when driving in foggy conditions as it is expected that much of the UK will see fog tomorrow morning.

    Tip 1 – Make sure you're familiar with how to use your front and rear fog lights.

    Tip 2- Do not use full beam lights as the fog reflects the light back reducing visibility.

    Tip 3 – Follow the 'two-second rule' to leave sufficient space between you and the car in front.

    Tip 4 – Ensure the heater is set to windscreen de-misting and open up all vents.

    Tip 5 – If visibility is very limited, wind down your windows at junctions and crossroads to allow you to listen for approaching traffic.

  • Louis Allwood

    Is changing my address on a drivers' licence free?

    Yes, it is free to change the address on your driving licence with the DVLA.

    It is also free to change the picture on your driving licence if you are over 70 or carry a medical short period licence.

    If you don't meet that criteria, you must pay £14, or £17 to change your driving licence photo – which you can pay by credit card or debit card.

  • Louis Allwood

    How do I change my address with DVLA?

    To change your address with the DVLA you need to be the licence holder.

    To change your address you will need:

    • your full or provisional driving licence
    • to live in Great Britain – there’s a different process in Northern Ireland
    • the addresses where you have been a resident in the past three years
    • to not be banned from driving

    You'll also be asked for your National Insurance and passport number if you know them.

    You can change the address on your provisional or full driving licence via the online form on the gov.uk website.

    When you have finished the application the DVLA will send you an email to confirm they have received it.

    • Louis Allwood

      How much will a new tyre cost?

      The cost of a replacement tyre will depend heavily on the type of tyre your car uses and the brand of tyre you choose.

      Generally speaking, the smaller the wheel size and the narrower a tyre is, the cheaper it is. 

      It is estimated that UK tyre prices range from £40 onwards.

    • Louis Allwood

      What should I do if I get a flat tyre?

      If you believe you have a flat tyre, you should not travel long distances and make sure that you can get them replaced as soon as possible.

      Th AA advise that you do not try to change a tyre on the hard shoulder of a motorway or at the side of the road, as this can be dangerous.

      Instead, it’s best to turn off or pull well away from traffic and call for help from a breakdown service.

      But if you are in a safe place to do so, you can always change the tyre yourself.

      Green Flag suggest wearing a high visibility vest and placing a reflective hazard warning triangle a good distance behind your car, in order to alert oncoming traffic.

      Then make sure that you know where the spare wheel, jack, wheel brace and locking wheel nut key are before you start.

      The Sun has a step by step guide on changing a tyre.

    • Louis Allwood

      Is it illegal to drive with a flat tyre?

      The Highway Code stipulates that your tyres need to be inflated to the correct pressure – so a flat tyre would render your vehicle unfit for the road.

      According to the DVLA, driving with a flat or damaged tyre could land you with a £100 fine.

      The tell-tale signs of having a flat tyre is if your steering feels funny when you're driving, or you're slowing down for no reason, the RAC says.

      You'll hear a thud and a flapping noise if it's a really serious puncture.

      Tyre valve issues could also result in a flat tyre.

      The tyre valve is in your tyre – and if it's damaged or corroded, it can mean air escapes and your tyre goes down.

    • Louis Allwood

      The little-known driving licence trick that could save YOU money

      DRIVERS could be saving £2.3million each year if they renewed their licences online rather than posting their applications.

      The Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency has revealed that almost a quarter of the two million applications they received were sent by post or the Post Office.

      British motorists submitted the documents between April 2020 and March 2021, without realising that they could apply online.

      On the official Gov.uk website renewing a photocard driving licence costs just £14 and their new one is sent out within five days.

      But posting your application to the DVLA costs £17 and will take longer to process, especially with a third of DVLA staff continuing to work from home.

      Julie Lennard, chief executive of the DVLA, said: “Our online services are the quickest and easiest way to deal with DVLA, and customers usually receive their driving and vehicle documents in just five days.”

      She explained that there are a number of fake sites online which charge more than the £14 offered by the Gov.uk service.

    • Louis Allwood

      You could be fined £30 for having your fog lights on

      BRITS could be slapped with a £30 fine for driving with fog lights on under a surprising rule.

      Motorists may think they know the do's and don't's of how to use their lights, but it seems this rule in the Highway Code is often overlooked.

      Drivers could face a brush with the law if they use their fog lights when they aren't needed, as they can dazzle other road users and obscure your brake lights.

      It could cause havoc on the roads and see you pulled over by the police if you fail to comply with the rule.

      You could then face points on your license and a fine of up to £30 if you use the high visibility lights when cops don't deem it foggy enough.

      Rule 236 of the Highway Code states: "You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 226) as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights.

      "You MUST switch them off when visibility improves."

    • Louis Allwood

      Warnings over ice

      Colder weather can mean ice on the roads – and on the windscreen of your car.

      You could be landed with a £60 fine and three penalty points for failing to scrape ice off your windscreen.

      With 35% of motorists admitting to driving with their windscreen misted up or covered in ice, Brits are being warned not to take risks on the road this winter.

    • Louis Allwood

      Putting your lights on

      The clocks going back also means that drivers will need to put their headlights on while driving so they can see properly.

      Motorists are being urged to remember to switch on their headlights when driving in the dark or risk up to 9 points on their license as well as forking out for the fine.

      With some drivers assuming that their car will pop on the lights automatically, it's best to double check if you're being safe on the road.

      If stopped by police with a broken light, you could be given a penalty of £100, without penalty points being added to your licence.

      This could rise to £1,000 if challenged in court. 

      But if you are found to be driving a vehicle in a “dangerous” condition, you could be issued a penalty of up to £2,500 and three points. 

      And in severe cases, a fine of up to £5,000 and up to nine penalty points could be issued. 

    • Louis Allwood

      Checking eyesight

      The clocks went back an hour early last month, which means there will be less daylight.

      That will mean that for many, driving in the dark back and forth from your commute to work will be the norm during the winter months.

      The DVLA took to Twitter earlier this month to remind drivers that they need to take a 20metre number plate vision test to see if their sight is up to scratch.

      You must be able to read – with or without glasses or contact lenses on – a car number plate made after September 1, 2001 from 20 metres away.

      If you do not meet the minimum eyesight requirements, you could face a £1,000 fine or a driving ban.

    • Louis Allwood

      ULEZ changes

      Last month, the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone boundary vastly expanded, meaning drivers of older cars and vans will have to pay a £12.50 charge for every day they enter the area.

      It now covers everywhere inside the North and South Circular roads, a huge residential area – and if motorists don’t pay the daily charge, they’ll be hit with a £160 fine.

      The ULEZ charge applies to any diesel car or van that doesn’t meet the Euro 6 exhaust standard.

      That is basically any vehicle older than September 2015, although some Euro 6 cars were on sale before that.

      For petrol cars, only older vehicles get hit as the cut-off is pre-Euro 4 – those newer than 2005 escape the charge.

      Classic cars are free if they are more than 40 years old and the charge even covers motorbikes pre-Euro 3, which is 2007.

      The charge doesn’t apply on December 25, but otherwise it is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    • Louis Allwood

      Expired driving licence warning

      In order to drive legally, you must have a driving licence – but they only last for 10 years.

      During the Covid crisis, drivers were granted a breather and given an extra 11 months on driving licences that expired between February 1 and December 31, 2020.

      That means if your licence was due to expire on December 31, 2020, you'll have until November 30 – a matter of weeks – to renew it.

      But as two fifths of Brits don't know their driving licence must be renewed every 10 years, it could mean thousands of drivers could be on the road with an expired licence.

      Co-op Insurance recently revealed that 450,000 driving licences have already expired after the extension ran out for thousands of drivers earlier this year.

    • Louis Allwood

      New towing a trailer rule

      A new law will roll out from November 15, which drivers will need to know about if they're planning on towing a trailer or a caravan.

      Drivers who passed their test after January 1, 1997, will be able to tow heavy loads without taking a specialist test first.

      This marks a major change from current rules where some drivers need to have a car and trailer test to be able to tow.

      From Monday, any qualified driver start pulling trailers weighing up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM) without training, experience or supervision.

      Drivers licences will now display a category BE on the photocard, indicating that you can tow a trailer or caravan.

      But drivers towing for the first time have been warned by the National Accident Helpline to "take extra care".

    • Louis Allwood

      The full list of 'notifiable' medical conditions

      A

      • Absence seizures
      • Acoustic neuroma
      • Addison’s disease
      • Agoraphobia
      • AIDS
      • Alcohol problems
      • Alzheimer’s disease
      • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
      • Amputations
      • Angina
      • Angioma
      • Angioplasty
      • Ankylosing spondylitis
      • Anorexia nervosa
      • Anxiety
      • Aortic aneurysm
      • Arachnoid cyst
      • Arnold-Chiari malformation
      • Arrhythmia
      • Atrial defibrillator
      • Arteriovenous malformation
      • Arthritis
      • Asperger syndrome
      • Ataxia
      • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
      • Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)

      B

      • Balloon angioplasty (leg)
      • Bipolar disorder
      • Blackouts
      • Blepharospasm
      • Blood clots
      • Blood pressure
      • Brachial plexus injury
      • Brain abscess, cyst or encephalitis
      • Brain aneurysm
      • Brain angioma
      • Brain haemorrhage
      • Brain injury (traumatic)
      • Brain tumours
      • Branch retinal vein occlusion
      • Broken limbs and driving
      • Burr hole surgery

      C

      • Caesarean section
      • Cancer
      • Cataracts
      • Catheter ablation
      • Cardiac problems
      • Carotid artery stenosis
      • Cataplexy
      • Cerebral palsy
      • Chronic aortic dissection
      • Cognitive problems
      • Congenital heart disease
      • Convulsions
      • Coronary artery bypass or disease
      • Coronary angioplasty
      • Cystic fibrosis

      D

      • Deafness
      • Defibrillator
      • Déjà vu
      • Dementia
      • Depression
      • Diabetes
      • Diabetic retinopathy
      • Dilated cardiomyopathy
      • Diplopia (double vision)
      • Dizziness
      • Drug misuse

      E

      • Eating disorders
      • Empyema (brain)
      • Epilepsy
      • Essential tremor

      F

      • Fainting
      • Fits
      • Fractured skull
      • Friedreich’s ataxia

      G

      • Giddiness (recurring)
      • Glaucoma
      • Global amnesia
      • Grand mal seizures
      • Guillain-Barré syndrome

      H

      • Head injury
      • Heart attack
      • Heart arrhythmia
      • Heart failure
      • Heart murmurs
      • Heart palpitations
      • Heart valve disease or replacement valve
      • Hemianopia
      • High blood pressure
      • HIV
      • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
      • Huntington’s disease
      • Hydrocephalus
      • Hypertension
      • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
      • Hypoglycaemia
      • Hypoxic brain damage
      • Hysterectomy

      I

      • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
      • Intracerebral haemorrhage
      • Ischaemic heart disease

      K

      • Kidney dialysis
      • Kidney problems
      • Korsakoff’s syndrome

      L

      • Labyrinthitis
      • Learning difficulties
      • Left bundle branch block
      • Leukaemia
      • Lewy body dementia
      • Limb disability
      • Low blood sugar
      • Lumboperitoneal shunt
      • Lung cancer
      • Lymphoma

      M

      • Macular degeneration
      • Malignant brain tumours
      • Malignant melanoma
      • Manic depressive psychosis
      • Marfan syndrome
      • Medulloblastoma
      • Memory problems (severe)
        Meningioma
      • Mini-stroke
      • Monocular vision
      • Motor neurone disease
      • Multiple sclerosis
      • Myasthenia gravis
      • Myocardial infarction
      • Myoclonus

      N

      • Narcolepsy
      • Night blindness
      • Nystagmus

      O

      • Obsessive compulsive disorder
      • Obstructive sleep apnoea
      • Optic atrophy
      • Optic neuritis

      P

      • Pacemakers
      • Palpitations
      • Paranoia
      • Paranoid schizophrenia
      • Paraplegia
      • Parkinson’s disease
      • Peripheral arterial disease
      • Peripheral neuropathy
      • Personality disorder
      • Petit mal seizures
      • Pituitary tumour
      • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
      • Psychosis
      • Psychotic depression

      R

      • Renal dialysis
      • Retinal treatment
      • Retinopathy

      S

      • Schizo-affective disorder
      • Schizophrenia
      • Scotoma
      • Seizures
      • Sight in one eye only
      • Sleep apnoea
      • Sleepiness (excessive daytime)
      • Spinal problems and injuries and driving
      • Stroke
      • Subarachnoid haemorrhage
      • Surgery
      • Syncope

      T

      • Tachycardia
      • Temporal lobe epilepsy
      • Tonic clonic fits
      • Tourette’s syndrome
      • Transient global amnesia
      • Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
      • Tunnel vision

      U

      • Usher syndrome

      V

      • Valve disease or replacement valve
      • Ventricular defibrillator
      • Vertigo
      • Vision in one eye only
      • Visual acuity (reduced)
      • Visual field defects
      • VP shunts

      W

      • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
      • Louis Allwood

        DVLA Statement on new fine

        A DVLA spokesman said: "It's the ongoing legal responsibility of all drivers to ensure that they are medically fit to drive and notify DVLA of the onset or worsening of a medical condition affecting this.

        "If patients are unsure whether they need to tell DVLA about a medical condition that could affect their driving, we would strongly encourage them to speak to their doctor or other healthcare professionals.

        "In more complex cases we often need additional information from a driver’s GP or other medical professional.

        "We are entirely dependent on them on getting back to us before we can make a licensing decision."

      • Louis Allwood

        Drivers shouldn't 'be afraid' about informing DVLA

        Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said:“Drivers should not be afraid to keep DVLA informed about their medical conditions.

        "Far better to be open than to risk a fine or invalidate your insurance. Almost 90 per cent of those who have notified DVLA get their license back when it is safe for them to drive again.

        "DVLA have been slow to deal with cases in the past but are recruiting more doctors and nurses to deal with the ever increasing workload caused by our ageing population."

      • Louis Allwood

        Reluctant drivers

        Part of the reason drivers are reluctant to give up their licence is the difficulty in getting it back.

        It has taken some drivers years to have a licence returned after a doctor has told them they're safe to drive due to admin delays.

      • Louis Allwood

        Will medications affect my driving?

        A variety of medicines can affect vision, hearing and reaction times, with even coughs and hayfever causing problems. 

        Over-the-counter medication is covered under the same law as cocaine and cannabis that prohibits driving with drugs in your body if they impair your ability.

        Painkillers used for headaches and body aches are also included in drug-drive laws – and if found driving under their influence, you could be handed an unlimited fine and a one-year driving ban.

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