Can I car share with colleagues, family and friends in Tier 4? What you need to know about giving lifts to others in the highest Covid restriction level
- Here’s how Tier 4 rules impact drivers differently than in lower restriction areas
- There are allowances to travel and recommendations for best practice
The introduction of a new Covid level – Tier 4 – brought a whole host of new rules for those living in areas where the spread of the virus is most prevalent.
Among the most common queries the Cars & motoring section of MailOnline and This is Money received during the first lockdown was about the ability to car share during the restrictions – and if you can give lifts to other people at all, especially colleagues working on the front line who want to avoid public transport at all costs.
Here we explain the car sharing rules for England’s tier system.
Can I car share in the new Tier 4 restriction? Here’s what drivers need to know about the new highest alert restriction level
London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and most of Essex and Surrey have been placed into the lockdown-like ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions just days ahead of Christmas.
There are also threats of the highest level being introduced further across England before the New Year, as concerns over a faster-spreading variant of the virus takes hold.
This new tier is the most inhibiting of all, and has already seen those living in impacted areas having to cancel plans to spend any of the festive period with friends and family.
While there are some similarities with the lower alert tiers, there are new limitations in place for the highest level, especially for car drivers.
Those living in ‘High alert’ Tier 2 or ‘Very High alert’ Tier 3 are broadly urged to reduce the volume of journeys they take – even on their own – while the latest Stay At Home Tier 4 advice is to not travel at all unless it’s for work, education, medical appointments, or to visit a support or childcare bubble.
While motorists living in a Tier 1 area can use their vehicles for a wider range of activities, the Government says people should still avoid giving lifts to someone from outside their household or support bubble to reduce the risk of transmission due to the ‘difficulty to socially distance during car journeys’.
As for Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4, car sharing is not permitted with someone from outside the your household or support bubble – unless the journey is undertaken for one of the exemption reasons previously mentioned.
The latest Tier 4 ‘Stay At Home’ advice is to not travel at all unless it’s for work, education, medical appointments or to visit a support or childcare bubble
For example, if car sharing is reasonably necessary as part of your work or to take someone to a doctor’s appointment, there is an allowance.
Where it is essential to car share, motorists are urged to only do so if they are transporting the same passengers each time and to minimise the group size.
Essential workers who vehicle share are also urged to open the car windows for ventilation, to sit side by side or behind other people rather than facing them, if travelling in taxis or a minibus – and to maximise distance between people in the cabin.
Those who are giving lifts for work, education or medical reasons should also thoroughly clean their cars between journeys using standard cleaning products, paying particular attention to door handles, seatbelt buckles and other areas that people touch.
Finally, if there is more than one person in a vehicle at a time from separate households, the Government says both the driver and passengers should be wearing a face covering.
Those who are giving lifts for work, education or medical reasons should thoroughly wipe down their car between journeys using standard cleaning products
If you live in a Tier 1 area – of which there are currently only a few, including Cornwall, Herefordshire, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight – and need to travel to an area in a higher tier, drivers should follow the rules for that region during the visit.
Tier 4 drivers are told not to leave their area whatsoever, unless for one of the exemption reasons listed.
On Monday, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency also confirmed that driving lessons and tests have been suspended in England where Tier 4 restrictions are being enforced.
Driving instructors also must not travel out of a Tier 4 areas to provide lessons to drivers in lower restriction areas.
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