New driving legislation coming into effect

Published: 06 March 2018

New driving legislation coming into effect

New MOT legislation

MOT legislation has been updated with new failure ratings put in place with a specific loophole focusing on diesel vehicles which will make passing for those vehicles much tougher, the drivers may have to overcome more challenges than other vehicles during the test.
 
Due to these new rules it may mean many diesel vehicles will be taken off the roads if they do not match the requirements set out by the Government. Minor faults may not have as much of an impact on the score, meaning that those drivers will be able to pass the test.
 
As to how the updated ratings work, there are three categories: dangerous, minor and major.
From May 2018, new failure ratings will be introduced and a diesel loophole will be closed, making it harder for them to pass the test.  Due to the crackdown on toxic emissions, it will be much tougher for diesel cars to match the requirements to pass the test.
 

Learner drivers will now use motorways

During a consultation in early 2017, it was revealed learner drivers will be authorized on motorways. This has been put in place to ensure that they have experience on motorways in addition to other areas. This is in the hope that drivers more experienced when passing their test will mean less accidents on motorways in the years to come.
 
However, they will only be on motorways once the instructor feels they are ready for it. They’ll need to have an approved driving instructor as well as a vehicle with dual-controls. There is no set date for when this will be put into action but it will happen this year. The DVLA currently have no plans to embed this into the new driving test.
 
Regarding the plans, transport secretary Chris Grayling spoke of the new plans: “Younger drivers are up to seven times more likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with drivers over 25, and lack of experience is an important factor. Allowing learners to drive on motorways in a supportive environment will help them develop a practical understanding of how to use motorways safely before driving independently.”
 
As for learners themselves, Shane Prime shared his own opinion: “I believe it's a good thing for learner drivers to go on the motorway with their driving instructor. It will help prepare them for real motorway driving and to get use to the environment with a qualified instructor, rather than going at it potentially alone in the future once tests have been passed.
 

Penalties for misuse of motorways

From March onwards, driving on the hard shoulder when signs clearly state that it is closed could lead to a whopping fine for the driver of said vehicle. 80,000 letters have been sent by Highways England to warn drivers that ignoring signs that state the hard shoulder is closed could lead to penalties.
 
With the advanced smart cameras, Highways England can now capture footage of those who drive on the hard shoulder despite it being closed. If caught, there will be a £100 fine as well as 3 points on their license as punishment.
 
Parts of the M1, M4, M5, M6 and M42 have already had smart technology put in place to monitor the roads set for when these penalties will start being distributed for those who do not follow instructions based on signs.
 

Changes to the driving test

In December 2017 the driving test underwent some big changes, new learners on the roads are now learning how to approach new methods of being tested. Previously, independent driving was no longer than 10 minutes, which has now been extended. Drivers could also be tested on their skills when relying or following a sat-nav.
 
This is in the hope that more drivers will be prepared when using the technology, meaning they won’t take unacceptable routes and will be ready for travel on long-distance journeys.
 

Tax rises for diesel cars

Along with the previously mentioned MOT legislation tax rises are set in stone for April 2018.
From next month, new Vehicle Exercise Duty (VED) terms are being set which will tweak the charges for drivers. This was announced by Phillip Hammond during the Autumn Budget last year. As with the MOT legislation, the charges point their aim towards diesel vehicles meaning a majority of diesel owners can expect to be charged much more than others when paying tax for their vehicle.
 
If a driver’s vehicle does not match up to the requirements of the pre-determined emissions standard, the driver will be asked to pay a band-higher tax than what is already charged. Cars that don’t meet Euro 6 emissions standards will be charged much more based on the levels of emissions distributed from the vehicle.
 
Drivers of diesel cars that do not meet a pre-determined emissions standard, will be required to pay.
 

Chlidren’s car seats

Children’s car seat regulations are set to go through drastic changes:
Updated models have been released of backless booster seats, these will only be appropriate for youth over the height of 125cm or that weigh more than 22kg. The guides will also show how to adjust the level of the seatbelt to suit the passenger’s comfort.
 
Any children younger than 15 month need a backwards-facing car seat for any journey.
Every child needs to use a child car seat unless they are age 12 or over or are taller than 135 cm, if they are one or the other, they no longer need a child seat. Seats can be chosen based on the height of your child to suit their needs.
 
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