Learning is a never-ending process, and that applies to driving too. Every learner driver shares the goal of passing their test and gaining freedom on the roads. The truth is, that’s when the learning really starts. Once you’re driving yourself around, you build that experience. One thing to remember is that the rules which govern how we drive our cars and use the roads are under constant scrutiny, and they’re updated regularly.

Regulations are often tweaked in a bid to make journeys smoother, parking easier and prevent unfair rule enforcement. Rule updates often help to prevent inconsiderate driving and open the door to new technology and environmental changes.

Here are some developments and changes to be aware of in 2024:

More electric cars and vans will take to the road

As of January 2024, UK car manufacturers are now required to make sure that at least 22% of car sales and 10% of van sales comprise of fully electric vehicles. Doing so means that they will comply with the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate.

The mandate aims to boost sales of electric vehicles in order to lower overall emissions. Over time, the Government is committed to gradually increasing these targets, and will aim for a minimum of 80% of new cars sold to be electric vehicles by 2030. By 2035, the sector is expected to achieve 100% zero-emission vehicle sales in order to align with the upcoming ban on the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles.

Manufacturers who fail to meet deadlines are set to face fines for each car and van that falls short of the target. Meeting the regulations will likely result in a widened range of electric vehicles in the market, and possibly means that automotive firms could offer incentives to try and encourage drivers to make the switch.

Changes to the DVSA eyesight test

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency are considering making changes to the eyesight exam which candidates take as part of their driving test. At the moment, if drivers can read a number plate from 20 metres away, they’ll pass the eyesight test. That said, it may be updated this year. The DVSA is working alongside a medical panel to evaluate and redefine the exam, whilst also collecting input from both drivers and specialists in order to make the test more flexible, and more effective. Checking a candidate’s eyesight under different lighting conditions could become part of the process.

New safety rules for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs)

Aspiring to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities in London, Transport for London are aiming to introduce new safety standards for HGVs in October 2024. A Direct Vision Standard, or DVS for short, will be implemented alongside a mandatory safety permit. Safety permits will need to be obtained for HGVs before they can operate in areas throughout Greater London.

Working to improve the safety of fellow road users, the DVS will give each HGV a star rating which reflects the driver’s field of vision through a lorry’s windows. All HGVs above 12 tonnes will require a DVS rating of three stars or above, or they will need equipping with an approved Safe System. Drivers of HGVs which don’t comply with the standards will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice. Permits will be issued at no cost.

Fuel Duty

Originally due to end in March 2024, the temporary 5p cut in fuel duty rates has been extended until March 2025. The freeze, which has been in place since January 2011, was introduced to prevent rates from rising with inflation. The current fuel duty rates will now remain unchanged until March 2025, which is positive news for drivers at the pumps.