WITH driving lessons due to resume and a massive backlog of tests to clear, some changes to the motoring laws also take effect this month.

From Monday, driving lessons can resume along with theory tests, while practical driving tests should re-start later this month.

Aimed at closing a loophole, new regulations for those caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel will come into force. Previously drivers using their devices to film video or take photos while driving did not face a penalty. Now motorists will be subject to a £200 fine and six penalty points for holding any mobile device when behind the wheel.

Fuel duty is currently 57.95p per litre of petrol, diesel, biodiesel and bioethanol and remains frozen but car tax will increase in proportion to the amount of emissions. The more CO2 a vehicle emits, the more has to be paid. Increases average at £5 for most drivers but those with high-emission vehicles could pay £70 more. Only vehicles powered solely by electric will continue to be exempt from vehicle excise duty.

Income tax or “Benefit in Kind” on company cars increases including a slight jump from zero per cent to one per cent on electric vehicles for the new financial year.

Clean air zones are also to be introduced in many UK cities outside London.

Pavement parking, which is only illegal per se in London, could also soon be enforced in other parts of the UK. Although driving on the pavement is against the law, actually parking on it isn’t. Motorists could be punished by a fixed penalty notice for what is seen as a highly-inconsiderate act for those with wheelchairs, mobility scooters or prams and pushchairs.

The Government is also looking to extend the law on engine idling, which although illegal in some circumstances is seldom pursued. The Royal College of Physicians estimate 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are linked to air pollution, with engine idling contributing to this figure.