posted 6 months ago

New Driving Laws for 2018 - Here Is When and What You Need to Know

With 17 to 19 year olds having 9% of fatal or serious collisions it’s clear that something needs to change to protect the greenest of motorists.

When you think of new road laws you may envision driverless cars, autonomous transport and new forms of propulsion. But 2018 sees a myriad of new laws that are actually far more mundane, here’s a quick rundown.

Misusing Smart Motorways

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With the proliferation of a ‘smart’ motorway network now snaking its way across most of the country, it turns out drivers aren’t as observant as they should be…either that or they’re plain ignorant.

From spring time a new law will come into place, automatically fining you if you’re driving in a closed lane. Those are the ones with a big red X marked above them.

Since their introduction in 2016 over 80,000 warning letters have been sent to motorists using the lanes when they shouldn’t. Not only is it stupid, it’s downright dangerous.

Most of the smart motorways don’t actually have a hard shoulder, instead, there’s layby type refuge points for stranded motorists. If you can’t make your way to one of those, you’re left sitting in the fourth lane, which means the lane gets closed until you’re rescued.

Not a great place to be when people are still trundling down that lane at 70 MPH.

There’s been no final say on what the penalty will be, but expect it to be at least £100 fine and three penalty points. Ouch.

The Diesel Car Tax Change

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From 1st April any new Diesel car will incur an increase in its first year road tax. The increase will bump you up to the next tax band.

So if your new car was in the 111 – 130 g/km of CO2, your first year tax rate would be increased from £160 to £200 in line with the 131-150 g/km band.

This won’t necessarily affect you a great deal, as it’s more than likely going to be slapped on the cost of a car. But it’s something to bear in mind if you’re looking at a highly polluting diesel, as you could be out of pocket to the tune of £500.

New MOT Rules

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May 20th will see a raft of new changes to the annual MOT for cars that are older than three years.

Firstly the faults will be classified as Minor, Major, and Dangerous. Anything that falls into the Major or Dangerous category will mean an instant failure.

Minor problems will pass as advisories used to, all of the info is noted down on the cars MOT record.

Diesels get a sterner eye cast over them, any car with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) that emits smoke of any colour will automatically fail.

Testers now also have to check to see if DPF filters have been mucked about with or removed completely. If so the car is to be refused an MOT test.

Reversing lights will also be checked, along with brake discs to see if they are significantly or obviously worn.

Learner Drivers Allowed On Motorways

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One of the biggest changes in law will allow learners to drive on the motorway. The DVSA have decided the changes will allow students to learn how to use motorways correctly, practice driving at higher speeds, apply theory knowledge and broaden their experience before they take their practical test.

But don’t worry, there won’t be a flurry of learners causing mayhem on our busiest roads. The vehicle must be dual control and tuition must come from an approved instructor, it’s also not going be a legal requirement to have motorway tuition before passing.

The exact date of the law change is yet to be confirmed.

New Drivers Could Be Banned From Roads At Night

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A new rule that’s still a bit up in the air is one to ban new drivers from night driving. The change has been debated in Parliament along with how you obtain a licence.

New Zealand, Australian, and the USA already employ a number of restrictions on new drivers, the UK is thinking of doing the same to try and kerb the current high accident rate among young motorists.

The changes include; introducing a minimum tuition time, using a graded licence system, not allowing passengers less than 25 years old, compulsory motorway and night driving tuition, displaying a sign that shows you’re a novice driver and passing a further test after 2 years to earn a full licence.

With 17 to 19 year olds having 9% of fatal or serious collisions it’s clear that something needs to change to protect the greenest of motorists.