Written by Graham Cutbill-White
We may already be well into 2018, but millions of drivers are still unaware of the numerous new driving laws, tax changes, and other testing rules that are coming into effect in 2018.
To ensure that you’re not caught out by laws which have changed and that you’re prepared for the soon to change rules, we’ve put together a handy guide to the new driving laws for 2018 and everything you need to know about them.
You can’t help but have noticed the rapid rollout of smart motorways up and down the country, but one thing you may have missed is the new law that could see drivers fined for using the wrong lanes when on them.
Cameras on the new motorways will be used to catch drivers misusing the hard shoulder which will now only be open if an incident causes another lane to close. Highways England will be handing out £100 fines and 3 penalty points to anyone caught using the lane.
We’ve already told you about changes to the MoT test which mean that cars more than 40-years-old will no longer need an MOT certificate. This move will mean that an estimated 300,000 cars will be on the road without an MoT.
Alongside that change, other MoT changes being introduced in 2018 include tougher emissions test being brought in which will make passing your MoT tougher, plus there’s a new category system for all vehicles.
Diesel cars have been targeted with these emissions tests, which will place greater importance on the condition of the diesel particulate filter (DPF). Any DPF which looks to have been tampered with or even removed will not pass its MoT and any filter which gives visible smoke of any colour during tests will also fail.
The new category system for all vehicles has been brought in to give clearer information to drivers. Faults found during an MoT will now be classified as either Minor, Major, or Dangerous. Any vehicle with a Major or Dangerous fault will automatically fail.
Speaking of tougher requirements for diesel vehicles, from April this year diesel drivers will have to pay a higher rate of tax for their diesel cars due to their higher emissions.
The new diesel supplement will mean that the first-year Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) will go up one band and you could have to pay up to £500 more in tax depending on your vehicle’s emissions.
The new tax increases will also affect any vehicle that fails to meet new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) engine requirements, which seeing as no current new diesel car meets the new standard, means that the increased tax rate will affect all new diesel cars.
In a bid to give learner drivers more driving experience and improve their motorway safety, for the first time, from June 4th, learners in Great Britain will able to have lessons on an actual motorway.
To ensure the safety of learners as well as other motorway users, lessons must be conducted by an approved driving instructor and must be carried out in a vehicle with dual controls (an extra set of brake and clutch pedals).
The changes are only applicable to learner drivers in cars, learner motorcyclists are still unable to learn on motorways. Motorway drivers who have passed their driving test are advised to keep safe distances from learners.
There are even more changes for learner drivers as 2018 marks the first full year with dramatic changes to the practical driving test.
Back in December, several new aspects were brought in to help learner drivers drive more independently. This will be specifically addressed in the independent driving portion of the test which has been extended to 20 minutes and will involve learners using a satnav or traffic signs to navigate a certain route.
Other changes include two of the famous four manoeuvres being dropped from the test. Learner drivers will no longer have to do either the ‘reverse around a corner’ or the ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres during that part of the test.
Instead, one of three manoeuvres, either a parallel park, parking in a bay or pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic will have to be completed.
Finally, there is a slight change to the traditional ‘show me, tell me’ part. Drivers will now be asked the ‘tell me’ question at the beginning of the test with the ‘show me’ question coming while out on the road. Learners will be asked for example “Show me how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers”.
One change which is yet to come to into law focuses on new drivers and potential restrictions around when drivers who have just passed their driving test are allowed on the road.
The Department for Transport has been asked by the Prime Minister to investigate a new ‘graduated licences’ scheme which will be used during a two-year probation period once a driver passes their practical test.
The scheme would restrict new drivers from using their vehicle at night time or carrying any passengers under 25 years old. It’s also been suggested that a limit on engine size and power output could come into effect.
Graduated licences are being proposed to not only reduce the amount accidents and injuries caused by new, inexperienced drivers but to also help cut the cost of insurance for young drivers.