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Mobile phone laws for drivers to change making touching devices illegal

mobile phone laws
Loopholes in the law that let drivers use smartphones will be closed in 2021 (Picture iStock/Mthipsorn)

The government is planning to change mobile phone laws for drivers in the first few months of 2021. It wants to close loopholes in the law. These enable drivers to use their devices at the wheel in ways that might be as dangerous as making a call.

The gaps have come about as phone technology has become more sophisticated with smartphones. To plug the loopholes, the government wants to make it illegal for drivers to touch their phone.

What will the new mobile phone law say?

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Catalytic converter theft Why it’s on the rise and are you at risk?

catalytic converter
Car catalytic converters can be stolen for the precious metals they contain (Picture iStock/BanksPhoto)

The Catalytic converter or ‘cat’ is a standard part of every modern car’s exhaust system. It helps to reduce harmful pollutants in the engine’s fumes. But thefts of catalytic converters are increasing dramatically.

In 2019, reported thefts of cats rose to 13,000 throughout England and Wales – up six times on the previous year. It’s not cheap to put right either. Replacement catalytic converters cost anywhere between £500 and £2500, depending on the car. Read on to find out if you could be at risk.

What is a catalytic converter?

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Drivers who need an MOT warned to book early to avoid test backlog rush

test backlog
Drivers are being warned of an MOT backlog over the next three months (Picture iStock/FG Trade)

Car owners whose MOT falls in the coming three months should book their test early. Garages are experiencing a surge in demand for MOTs, creating a test backlog. There are fears some drivers may struggle to get their car tested in time.

The extra demand is thanks to the MOT extension brought in at the end of March 2020. Experts believe there could now be nearly twice as many drivers looking to have MOT tests done in November, December and January. This will make garages much busier than usual.

What happened when MOTs were delayed

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Insurance premiums may fall in 2021 but fraud is up this year, drivers warned

insurance premiums
Fraudulent crashes seem to be increasing before the government clamps down on whiplash fraud (Picture: iStock/Monkeybusinessimages)

The good news for car drivers is insurance premiums could fall next year. The bad news is this year, the risk of being a victim of insurance fraud could increase. And drivers should be aware they’re being targeted in another scam called ‘click to call’. Read on to find out how motor insurance fraud is changing.

Why may insurance premiums fall?

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Self-driving cars on UK roads in 2021. What’s the latest?

self-driving cars
Drivers could let their cars take the strain as soon as 2021 (Picture iStock/Scharffsinn86)

Not bothering learning to drive because a self-driving car will do the work for you? Looking forward to checking social media on your smartphone or messaging your mates legally while at the wheel?

The time when you’ll be able to do both these is edging nearer but there’s still some way to go. Read on to find out where the UK is at now with autonomous or self-driving cars.

Is the law on self-driving cars changing?

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Car crime: where your motor’s at risk and which cars are in danger

Car crime is still a real problem in the UK (Picture iStock/D-Keine)

Car theft has risen by a half over the last five years. That means every nine minutes in 2019 a car was stolen in the UK, official figures say. One organisation even estimates vehicle-related crime costs the UK £2.7m per day. But which models were most sought after by thieves? And where should you park if you don’t want your car to be stolen? Read on to find out.

Where are the UK’s car theft hotspots?

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Now might be the right time to switch to an electric car

switch to an electric car
Now might be the right time to consider a shiny new Nissan Leaf (Picture Nissan)

If you’re considering the switch to an electric car, now might be the time to do it. A new study by insurer Direct Line has revealed that the average lifetime costs of running an electric vehicle (EV) are now cheaper than the equivalent petrol-powered model.

How much cheaper are electric cars?

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