Driving law changes you need to be aware of in 2018
As reported in the media recently, there are several driving law changes that you need to be aware of in 2018. Here’s a lowdown on what these changes are and how they affect you.
New driving test changes
Although these changes won’t directly affect you, it does mean you need to know about them, as some will have an impact on the roads you’re using. How? Well the biggest change is learner drivers will be allowed to drive on the motorway, provided they’re accompanied by an approved instructor – and driving a car fitted with dual controls.
Other changes to the driving test will see an end to reversing around a corner and turning-in-the-road, as these will be replaced with reversing into a parking space. Candidates will also have to follow directions from a satnav and performing simple tasks whilst on the move (such as operating windscreen wipers). These changes have been implemented in an effort to help encourage independent driving and to help new drivers manage distractions.
An increase in diesel car tax
From April 1st, newly registered diesel cars and those that do not meet the Euro 6 engine requirements will face an increase in their car tax. For newly registered cars, they’ll face a hike up to the next tax band. For car that do not reach the Euro 6 engine requirements, they’ll see an increase, based on their CO2 emissions.
Tougher MOT tests for diesel vehicles
The biggest change to MOT tests is they’re going to make it harder for vehicles to pass an MOT. From May, all vehicles will be rated in three categories – Dangerous, Major and Minor – and, if your vehicle falls into the first two categories, it will fail.
If a diesel particulate filter looks like it’s been tampered with, the vehicle will fail its MOT – unless you can prove it’s been removed for filter cleaning. Is any diesel particulate filter gives out visible smoke of any colour – it will automatically fail.
But it’s not just diesel cars that are in for tougher MOT tests. Steering on all cars will be scrutinised. If you’re leaking oil from a steering box, you’ll get a Minor fault – but if you’re dripping oil badly, you’re going to fall into the two failure categories.
Motorway breaches are going to be punished with tougher penalty fines. Roadside cameras on smart motorways are going to be targeting motorway rule breakers who misuse the hard shoulder or ignore lane closed signs. Often, this is down to driver ignorance though, as they appreciate the hard shoulder is used as a fourth lane to ease traffic, but don’t always acknowledge the closed sign, when traffic congestion has eased. Offenders will face a fixed penalty charge of £100 and three penalty points on their licence.
Young drivers banned from night driving
Finally, in a somewhat controversial move, a ‘Graduated Driving Licence’ is being proposed. It is hoped this will ease the high accident and fatality figures for this age bracket and will see drivers aged between 17 and 24 years old, being banned from driving after dark.
Of course, this will have a major impact on young commercial van drivers and those young drivers who drive sensibly – but we’ve yet to see whether it will be implemented.
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