Driving law changes that you need to know about
With more and more vehicles taking to the road each year, it should come as no surprise that new driving regulations are being introduced to tackle the rising vehicle emissions and help increase driver safety.
That’s why this month we wanted to highlight some of the key driving law changes that you need to know about, regardless of whether you drive for personal or business purposes.
New MOT legislation will be introduced
One of the major changes that drivers need to be aware of are the amendments to MOT tests, which come into force from May 20th 2018. The changes introduce new criteria to the tests.
Vehicles will now be rated in three categories: dangerous, major and minor. Any cars that are given a “major” or “dangerous” rating will automatically fail the test. At the same time, additional criteria will be introduced to monitor the effects of vehicles with diesel filters.
If a vehicle has a filter that looks like it has been removed or tampered with then it will automatically fail the MOT. If the smoke coming out of the filter has any visible colour, it will be considered a “major” fault and once again, fail.
MOTs will be scrapped for classic cars
In May 2018, vehicles that are over 40 years old will be exempt from an MOT test, and you won’t have to pay vehicle tax on these older vehicles either.
It’s thought that the owners of vehicles over 40 years old are car enthusiasts, so they’re more likely to ensure that these vehicles are in optimum condition. This means that the need for an MOT wasn’t as vital compared to standard car owners.
This law won’t apply to commercially used goods vehicles that have a maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes, or buses with eight or more seats.
Learner drivers on the motorways
As of June 2018, learner drivers will be allowed to have lessons on all major motorways. They will only be allowed to do this if they are with a qualified driving instructor in a vehicle that has dual controls.
The main reason behind this change is so that learner drivers can build up their confidence before they pass their test. It can be very daunting driving on a motorway for the first time, especially if you’re a new driver.
Changes to the driving test
Back at the end of 2017, there were several changes made to the traditional driving test.
These included increasing the amount of time the learner could drive independently (from 10 minutes to 20 minutes), whilst following instructions from a sat nav and demonstrated their knowledge of car functions and manoeuvres.
Now, new drivers will be tested on one of the three manoeuvres:
- Parallel parking at the side of a road
- Parking in a bay (driving in or reversing out, or vice versa)
- Pulling onto the right-hand side of the road, reversing two car lengths out and rejoining traffic
Traditionally, the “show me, tell me” section was completed at the start of the test, before driving started.
Now, the “tell me” question is at the start and the “show me” is during the test, whilst on the road. For example, new drivers could be asked to demonstrate how to defog the windscreen or how to use the windscreen wipers.
Tax rises for diesel cars
From this month, owners of a diesel car registered after April 1st 2018 will face a higher rate of tax.
This applies to the first year of tax for diesel cars that don’t meet the standards of the Euro 6 engine requirements under the new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test, sometimes called RDE2. Those vehicles that do meet the requirements are exempt from the tax rise.
The changes to the tax rates that drivers have to pay mainly impacts diesel car drivers, as their emissions are typically higher than those of petrol drivers.
Penalties for misusing motorways
This year, new Automatic Number-Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will be introduced on all major smart motorways to make sure that drivers aren’t misusing the lanes.
If a driver is caught driving in a lane that isn’t open or driving in a lane with a red “X” above, they will be automatically given a penalty, including a £100 fine and three points on their licence.
So there we have it, some of the driving regulation changes that will impact drivers this year. It will be interesting to see the results of some of the new laws, especially those that have been introduced to help reduce the number of accidents on UK roads.
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