The Department for Transport has made major updates to the Highway Code, in changes that could land motorists in hot water if they aren’t fully clued up on the laws around driving on UK roads.
Covering some of the most common dangers on our roads such as passing cyclists and motorway driving, the DfT say that these new regulations and fines have been put into place to help improve safety on our roads, keep drivers alert to their fellow road users, and help to keep motorways less congested.
New Rules for Passing Cyclists
If you cycle as well as drive a vehicle, you will already be aware of the dangers faced on a daily basis. Drivers can easily misjudge the distances between themselves and the cyclists sharing the road, causing serious accidents.
New rules mean that drivers will be forced to give more space to cyclists on the road, or else be slapped with a £100 fine. The newly-updated Highway Code now states that there should be a 4ft 11in (1.5 meter) gap between car and cyclist – about the width of your car door.
Learner drivers are now allowed by law to use motorways, if it is part of their lesson. They must be accompanied by an instructor, in a car with dual controls.
There are also plans to introduce a graduated licence for learner drivers, to encourage them to build up their road-using experience slowly.
Changes to Smart Motorway Rules
If you’ve used a Smart Motorway recently, you may have noticed that lanes marked with an “X” are sometimes used by drivers choosing to flout the rules of the road.
Starting this year, any motorist using lanes marked with an “X” on the electronic signage above the Smart Motorway can be given an automatic fine of £100, as well as three points on their license.
It’s important to remember that lanes on Smart Motorways are closed for many reasons such as collisions, congestion control and to avoid further accidents. Using closed lanes can be dangerous and may even impede your progress.
MOT Regulation Changes
If your car is due for an MOT in 2019, there are new categories to take into consideration that may change the outcome of your test.
The categories are:
- Dangerous – Direct risk to road safety or the environment. Results in a Fail.
- Major – Could affect safety or the environment. Results in a Fail.
- Minor – No effect on safety, but should be repaired as soon as possible.
- Advisory – Could have an effect in future.
- Pass – Meets the current legal standards.
New legal requirements have also been introduced to the MOT, which could see cars failing when in previous years they may have passed with an advisory notice.
These legal requirements include:
- Under-inflated tyres
- Contaminated brake fluid
- Brake pad warning lights and missing brake pads or discs
- Reversing lights (for vehicles newer than September 2009)
- Daytime running lights (for vehicles newer than March 2018)
As with all legal restrictions, there can be grey areas that can catch individuals out unfairly. Our expert lawyers are well-read on these updated regulations and can tell you immediately if you have a case. If you’d like to speak to our expert lawyers about road traffic offences, fines or other vehicle-related charges, please call 01282 433 241 today.