Thursday 15th March 2018
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new driving laws 2018

This year will see the introduction of new changes to our driving laws with regards to our driving licences, road tax, new drivers and scrappage schemes. Some of these may affect you or someone you know, so it’s well worth checking them out so you are aware. As you know last month we discussed in depth the changes to your MOT tests coming up however, from next month there will be more introductions coming into force, so we thought we’d go through each of these step by step.

Starting from April 2018

  1. The new digital driving license is on the way, however it will not to replace the existing photo cards, but rather seen as an addition. Those of us may remember the photocards coming into action back in July 1998 to run alongside the paper copies at the time. The paper copies were then abolished on the 8th June 2015. Well, this change see’s the new digital driving license being installed on your phone as like most of us a phone is an item always carried with you and there’s more of a chance at the roadside the police can run a quick check. So, the debate is will photocards eventually have their day? We’ll need to watch this space. Last year they tested the new feature on various devices including Apple, and from April it looks like the decision has been made with new digital licenses being issued.
  2. This month will also see the introduction of a tax increase to diesel vehicles. This will mean higher tax charges. As the emissions are higher for diesel cars than petrol, then the increases will be directly linked to higher emission standards. If your diesel vehicle emits between 151-170g/km of CO2, then you could be paying £800 in tax based on this new 2018 law coming into effect.
  3. The new MOT test categories come into play. To summarise there will be 3 new categories checked against the road standard of your vehicle. These are ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ and ‘minor’. If your car receives a dangerous or major notice then it will automatically fail, however if receive a minor it can still pass, but will be stated on your test certificate. Find out more here.
  4. A new law for classic cars allows any vehicles that are over 40 years old to be exempt from an MOT. The old law states that if your classic was registered between 1960 to 31st December 1976 then you would still require to provide an MOT test pass, but wouldn’t need to pay. Prior to 1960 you wouldn’t need an MOT and would just need to have applied for a vehicle tax exemption, however the new law states that if your vehicle is over 40 years old then you won’t need an MOT. Statistic show that vehicles over 40 years old have a lower accident and MOT failure rate. This won’t apply to HGV’s, or buses with 8 or more seats.
  5. Motorway law changes are coming into effect where driving in a closed motorway lane will now automatically generate a fixed penalty. Cameras are now set up to catch out the motorist who seeks to drive in a closed lane. Sometimes, the hard shoulder can be opened to ease traffic and in this case this is fine, however any lanes including the hard shoulder that are not advertised as open will trigger the camera alerts.
  6. Trading in your diesel vehicle will mean increased savings in 2018. As the government is really trying to clamp down on diesel emissions, they have now created even more incentives to trade in your diesel vehicle if it was registered before 2010. The savings could now mean £2000 off for cars and £7000 off for vans. There is also new EU legislation stating that in the near future some diesel vehicles could be banned from the roads altogether. Even though Brexit is looming the British Government are still taking seriously the findings made by the EU and see diesel vehicles as a main contributor to polluting the air, especially in the main cities. Diesel SHOCK coming up:well worth a read here.
  7. New drivers will be banned from driving at night up to 2 years from passing their test. This is to allow the new driver to gain more experience on the roads first. In the past, the law was declined as some drivers needed their cars to get to and from work at night. However, statistics show that new drivers are more prone to accidents and many of these occur during this time.
  8. Learner drivers must also be taught on motorways as part of their test. They must be accompanied by a DVLA driving instructor who have the ability to operate dual controls in the vehicle. Driving on the motorway can be quite a nervy experience when first passing their test and accidents can occur by the new driver when setting off on the motorway. Gaining experience during lessons will help the new driver gain confidence on the motorway.

What’s your thoughts on these new laws? We would love to hear your comments below: