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Driving Safety Rules and Regulations

Various driving laws help to keep drivers and passengers safe on the roads while driving or riding vehicles in the United Kingdom. This section has information about the most serious driving safety rules (e.g. drink driving rules) and other DVLA restrictions for motorists.

Driving Safety Laws: Check out the essential information on drink driving disqualifications. Find out the legal alcohol limits for drivers in England, Wales, and Scotland.

In some cases, driver disqualifications can also result from penalty points (endorsements). Check through the topics on driving bans and speeding penalties.

This is a listed overview of UK vehicle safety rules and regulations. Further information covers vehicle recall procedures and dealing with faults on car parts.

The first section addresses child car seat and restraint regulation. The laws affect how you transport children in your vehicle. There is also a different section covering the current seat belt regulations in United Kingdom.

Checking a Vehicle is Roadworthy

Cars can be unsafe even when they have a current MOT certification. As the driver or the rider, you must make sure your vehicle is roadworthy (safe to drive) any time you plan on driving or riding it.

Before you drive a vehicle you should check:

  • All the lights work (e.g. indicators).
  • The front windscreen, other windows, and the mirrors are clean.
  • The brakes are working properly.

The vehicle handbook will notify you how often the vehicle needs servicing and how often you should check other things, such as the:

  • Battery
  • Brake fluid level
  • Engine oil
  • Tyres (they must be free of cuts and defects and have the correct tread depth)
  • Water level in the radiator or expansion tank
  • Windscreen and rear window washer bottles (topping up with windscreen washer fluid when necessary)

Minimum Tyre Tread

The type of vehicle you drive or ride determines how much tyre tread there needs to be. But, the tread needs to be across the middle three-quarters and around the entire tyre.

So let’s take a closer look:

  • The tyres on cars, light vans, and light trailers need to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6 millimetres.
  • The tyres on motorcycles, large vehicles, and passenger-carrying vehicles need to have a minimum tread depth of one (1) millimetre.
  • There only needs to be some visible tyre tread on mopeds.

Note: Driving any vehicle in a dangerous condition can result in 3 penalty points, driving disqualifications, and a fine up to £2,500. Different rules on making sure your vehicle is roadworthy apply for commercial vehicles.

Vehicle and Driver Safety Guide

Child Car Seat Laws

The child car seat laws regulate the correct use of restraints for small children in vehicles. UK car booster seat rules for babies and young children depend on the child’s height, age, and weight.

Drink Driving and Drugs

Drink Drive Rules

UK drink driving laws are strict and punishing for the worst offenders. Being found guilty of drink-driving can result in imprisonment and banned from driving.

DDRS Course

The drink-drive rehabilitation course is a scheme that can reduce a driving ban. Find out the current cost to enrol and what happens after completion.

Driving Drugs Law

Penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are severe in the United Kingdom. The section explains the consequences of drugs and driving.

Driving Bans

What happens when someone gets banned from driving and when does a driver ban end? The courts can order a test resit after a period of driving disqualification.

Endorsement Codes

The codes have a sliding scale penalty point system from one to 11. The most serious endorsement offences receive a higher points tally and some involve a disqualification.

Mobile Phones

A guide explaining the laws for using mobile phones while driving or riding a vehicle. Breaking the mobile phone law can result in penalty points and a severe fine.

Penalty Points

UK courts can issue fines and handout penalty points endorsements on driving records. As a rule, licence endorsement points will show for periods of either four or eleven years.

Seat Belt Law

Information in this section relates to the current seat belt law in the United Kingdom. It also explains the exemption rules on wearing a seat belt in a vehicle.

Speeding Penalties

There is a minimum penalty of £100 fine for speeding and 3 penalty points will get added to your driving record. Building up 12 or more penalty points in a 3 year period can result in a driving disqualification.

If you get stopped by the police for speeding they will often send details of the penalty to you. But, they can also choose to send the case straight to court.

The police send notice to the registered keeper of the vehicle if you get caught by speed camera. They can send a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) within fourteen (14) days of the offence. Ignoring the notice means you may have to attend a court summons.

Note: There are special rules for new drivers for the first two years after passing the test. The DVLA can revoke your driving licence if you build up 6 or more penalty points within this 2 year period.

Vehicle Recalls and Faults

There are responsibilities to meet if your vehicle part or accessory gets recalled. The section explains what to do about vehicle recalls and faults or defects.

Vehicle and Driving Safety Laws and Restrictions in United Kingdom