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How Might Drivers Be Affected By Scottish Independence?

By raccars Published

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A referendum is due to be held on 18 September to determine Scottish independence, the result of which could see lower fuel prices take effect north of the border. Should Scotland succeed in gaining autonomy, a fuel duty regulator is one of the ideas under consideration for the country's future, which could help to maintain lower prices at the pumps.

Fuel duty could be reduced while oil prices are high, by using revenues from North Sea oil and increased fuel VAT receipts, rather than squeezing motorists for the extra cash. A mechanism to stabilise the price of fuel for households and businesses in Scotland has been a repeated area of conflict between Scottish and UK ministers, and independence would allow Scotland to make its own taxation decisions.

Another effect of independence upon drivers in Scotland could be the introduction of a graduated driving licence scheme. The idea has also been considered and then discarded by Westminster, but the Scottish government believes it could make younger drivers safer on the roads. Statistics appear to show these kinds of schemes have been successful at reducing new and young driver accident rates in other locations and Transport Scotland is looking at ways to introduce graduated licensing in some form.

In terms of crossing the border between England and Scotland by car, independence should have very little effect as the Common Travel Area regulations will still apply on both sides. This allows freedom of movement without the need to show a passport for UK and Ireland nationals, plus those from the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Border crossing will remain free of charge for foreign truckers entering Scotland, as for foreign cars.

An independent Scotland would retain the current vehicle licensing regime as used by the DVLA, which does not indicate nationality.

One potential change to the driving laws that could be implemented should Scotland gain independence would be a lower threshold for drink driving. The Scottish government has conducted research into public opinion, with the results showing a very clear bias in favour of reducing the legal drink driving limit. However, legislation will not be brought in until drink driving testing devices have been upgraded. Further changes in legislation could allow random breath tests to be conducted by police or different levels of drink driving thresholds to be set for different categories of driver.

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