There are several legal obligations and things to consider before you drive any car or motorbike in the UK. Before making any attempt to drive, you should have a valid driving licence and your vehicle should be registered, insured, and taxed, and also possess a valid MOT.
Legal obligations of UK drivers
Once you meet all the above requirements, legal obligations before driving your vehicle on UK roads include:
- you must be at least the minimum driving or motorcycle riding age
- you should have the right kind of driving licence
- your eyesight should be good enough to meet minimum sight rules
If you are a learner driver, you should also:
- be constantly supervised by a driver at all times you drive on UK roads, unless you are riding a motorbike
- ensure “L” plates are prominently displayed at the front and rear of your vehicle. In Wales, these are “D” plates
Legal requirements for UK vehicles
Any vehicle which is to be driven on UK roads should:
- hold a registration document to prove it is registered with DVLA
- possess valid vehicle tax
- be MOTed, unless your vehicle does not require an MOT
- driver and any passengers should always wear seatbelts
- be suitable for driving and roadworthy
- the vehicle should be insured for you to drive, this must be at least third party insurance cover
Further obligations for drivers
If you are stopped by police at any time, you must be able to show the officer your driving licence, insurance cover certificate, and a current MOT certificate, if your vehicle requires one. You will usually be able to take these documents to a local police station within seven days of the police officer’s request.
You should also be aware of the permitted level of blood alcohol content within your locality, as police officers can stop your vehicle if they suspect you are drink driving.
You can be fined up to a maximum of £5,175 and could also lose your licence if you are caught driving while under the influence of alcohol. If you take drugs on a regular basis, you should check the legality of driving on UK roads.
Texting or using a mobile phone while driving is also banned, and phones can only be used when vehicles are parked.
The only exception to this ruling is if you are in an emergency situation and need to call for emergency assistance. Although you are permitted to use hands-free mobiles, there is a risk you could be stopped by police if they feel that use of your hands-free set is causing a driving distraction.
There are lots more legal requirements and driving tips for new drivers, your driving instructor can give you information if you’re unsure about anything.