Important Changes to Driving Laws for 2018

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This year, there are 8 new driving laws coming into force that you need to be aware of. Here we will look at what’s changing as the year progresses.



Diesel Car Tax

Diesel car drivers are bracing for a significant rise of their car tax. Unfortunately, no new diesel cars that are being produced will meet a new pre-determined emissions standard, meaning drivers who buy a new diesel car will be hit hardest by these changes.

Buyers of new diesel cars could face a £500 increase in their tax bill in the first year, so this legislation needs to be paid attention to if you are looking to buy a new car this year.

Fortunately, if you’re already driving a diesel car, the tax hike won’t affect you.


Digital Driving Licence

As the world becomes more digital, it comes as no surprise that the government are looking at ways to update the driving licence. In 2015 the paper counterpart driving licence was abolished, with the licence now just being a photocard.

The new digital driving licence will not immediately replace the photocard licence, it will support it initially. The digital licence is designed to sit securely on your smartphone, rather than you having to carry your photocard with you. In time, it is likely that the licence will become entirely digital.


Motorway Laws

In Spring 2018, laws will be put in place to prevent drivers using closed motorway lanes. As smart motorways become more commonplace, it is important that legislation keeps up with motorway operations.

It is already illegal to drive in closed lanes; however, the new laws will help re-enforcement with the introduction of fixed penalties and increased monitoring.




MOT Exemption for Classic Cars

From May, vehicles over 40-years-old will be exempt from MOT testing.

With most owners of such vehicles unlikely to be using them for everyday purposes, and the presumption that they take great car for the vehicles because of their passion for them, an MOT isn’t necessary.

Of course, not all road users agree with this new law, as the reasons behind it can be seen as presumptuous and not matter of fact, therefore potentially putting other road users at risk. Classic car drivers will still be legally obliged to ensure that their vehicle is roadworthy, though.


New MOT Categories

In addition to the classic car MOT exemption, new MOT categories will also be introduced from May 2018. The three categories relate to the test result and define the vehicles roadworthiness in a new way. The three categories are – minor, major, and dangerous.

A dangerous or major test result means automatic MOT failure. Minor faults are noted on the MOT and the car can still pass the test. These new standards are likely to make an MOT harder to pass and therefore have a positive impact on road safety.



Later in 2018

Diesel Trade in Incentives

Road users are seemingly set to become highly incentivised to trade in their high-emission diesel cars in exchange for something more eco-friendly.

Many car dealerships are already offering scrappage schemes and similar incentives with government backed policies likely to be introduced soon. If your car was manufactured prior to 2010, you are likely able to take advantage of a scrappage scheme that could provide you with significant savings against a new vehicle.


Driving at Night

New drivers are to face more restrictions when they pass their test from this year. Driving at night is seen as more dangerous for new drivers, who are already prone to accidents in their first two years of driving.

A ban on new drivers driving at night is likely to be imposed for their first two years on the road.


Learner Drivers on Motorways

With many new drivers passing their test and driving on motorways with no experience, this is an area that needed to be addressed.

Learner drivers will be able to practice on the motorway with an approved instructor, providing they are in a vehicle with dual controls. Coming in to force later this year, this new regulation should help to prevent motorway accidents involving new drivers.



The DRN Advantage

If you get caught out by these new regulations, or if you need legal advice following any road traffic incident, you can talk to our specialist road traffic team on 01282 433 241. Or for more information on how we can assist with road traffic offences, visit DRN Road Traffic Offences.