March – New drug-driving laws to be introduced
From March 2nd, stricter rules are coming into force to combat the threat of drug driving whether under the influence of legal or illegal drugs.
Illegal drugs covered by the new rules (and that can be tested for at the roadside) include cannabis, cocaine, LSD, heroin, ecstasy and ketamine. Prescribed drugs that are more prone to abuse will include diazepam, flunitrazepam, temazepam and clonazepam.
If caught under the influence of drugs, it will be treated in the same way as drink-driving with severe penalties. If you are uncertain about any prescribed drugs you are taking (say, for treating an ongoing medical condition), consult your GP or pharmacist.
June – Abolition of the driving licence paper counterpart
Come June 8th, the paper counterpart will be no more as it follows in the footsteps of the road tax disc which was shown the paper shredder in October 2014.
It means you will need to destroy your paper licence and instead, your information (including existing penalty points and your licence’s status) will be held on a DVLA database. The authority has pointed out though that owners of paper licences issued before 1998 will need to keep hold of their document until they renew their licence.
October – No smoking allowed in a vehicle carrying a child
From October 1st, adults will not be allowed to smoke in a vehicle if it is carrying an individual under the age of 18.
If any person in a vehicle is caught smoking, the driver could face fines ranging from £60 up to £10,000 (plus potential points on their licence) for smoking behind the wheel or failing to stop passengers from lighting up when a child is present.
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