Highway Code changes warning drivers who stream music in their car at risk of fines

1 May 2022

All UK drivers have been warned against listening to music in their vehicles. The rules apply to everyone with a mobile phone, but they are most likely to be affected by music streaming apps like Spotify and Apple Music.

Anyone caught changing the song on their phone might be fined up to £200. The warning comes ahead of upcoming reforms to the Highway Code, which are expected to upend the road hierarchy and make it safer for more vulnerable users.

More and more drivers are being caught out on the roads by unexpected fines. The new changes to the Highway Code will place more responsibility on road users and it will be a criminal offence to disobey them. More publicised offences, such as making phone calls whilst driving, are already deemed unacceptable in our society but simple things such as throwing a cigarette out of a window are what we see on journeys every day, and often without consequence. We are reminding road users to be considerate of other road users and obey driving laws for their own safety and the safety of others whilst travelling.

Finance firm CarMoney's Andrew Marshall

Here's a rundown of some of the lesser-known restrictions that are about to take effect:

Stopping beyond the white line at traffic lights

Crossing this border can result in a fine of up to £100 and three points on your licence. Advanced Stop Lines, or ASLs, demarcate bike-only zones. Drivers who cross the line and into the box risk receiving both a fine and a penalty points.

Using phone to change playlist while driving

People who change the song on their phone while driving can now be fined under new legislation aimed at reducing risky driving.

This covers activities such as photographing or filming. You might face a £200 fine if you do something similar.

While driving while on the phone was made illegal in 2003, this latest modification brings it in line with other phone usage rules, making motorists who use their phones in a variety of ways liable for unsafe driving.

Throwing a cigarette out the window of a car

Because throwing your butts out the window is no different from littering, "incorrect cigarette disposal" can result in a fixed penalty notice punishment ranging from £50 to £100.

Although smoking in a car is not illegal as long as the passengers are over the age of 18, the fine was implemented to reduce littering and to prohibit the casual disposal of plastic-based butts, in accordance with current littering rules.

Having a dirty licence plate

Driving on damp roads in the winter may quickly accumulate muck and filth on your licence plate. However, failing to keep your licence plate clear and visible might result in a £1,000 fine. If your licence plate is illegible, you're breaking the law, which states that "lights, indicators, and number plates must be kept clean and clear." After travelling on muddy roads, make sure to clean your vehicle thoroughly.

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