New driving laws are set to be enforced in the UK during 2018. These changes will see large fines and penalties for drivers who are found to be on the wrong side of the law. So what are the changes you need to know about?

2018 driving laws

Punishment for misusing motorways

Firstly, drivers who are misusing motorways will be handed a hefty penalty as of March 2018. 80,000 letters were reportedly sent out by Highways England to urge motorists not to drive on the hard shoulder when it is closed. However, new ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras are to be placed on major motorways to catch drivers. Motorists that are caught driving on the hard shoulder when it’s closed will be hit with a £100 fine and three points on their license.

New MOT rules

From May this year MOTs will become harder to pass. Vehicles will be placed in one of three categories; minor, major and dangerous. Vehicles placed in the major or dangerous category will automatically fail. Any diesel car that has had its DPF (that’s diesel particulate filter to the layperson!) removed or tampered with will fail the test. High definition headlamp bulbs are also no longer allowed. Furthermore, reversing lights will be tested for the first time and again, you instantly fail if your brake fluid is visually deteriorated (for example, black or brown). So make sure you undertake regular maintenance.

Learner drivers allowed on motorways

Learner drivers will be let loose on British motorways in 2018, although it is unsure when this will come into place. Learners working towards their driver’s license will be allowed to have lessons on the motorway as long as they are accompanied by a qualified driving instructor. However, motorway driving will not make up part of driving tests. This change was decided when government research found that the majority of new drivers were not taking motorway lessons once they had passed their test and therefore having their first experience of a motorway without a qualified instructor.

Tax increase for diesel cars

Starting from April 1st, newly registered diesel cars will see a tax increase of anywhere from £20 to £560. These changes were announced in the November 2017 budget and apply to new cars bought after April that fail to comply with the Euro 6 emission standard. Many diesel car drivers have become disgruntled by this new law and believe it does not do anything to get the oldest and most polluting cars off of the UK roads.

Changes to driving tests

As many motorists well know, the current test includes an independent driving section. This section is where the examiner will give no instructions for 10 minutes, so the driver can prove they are capable of driving independently. However, this will now include a section where the driver will follow instructions from a sat nav. In an increasingly digital age where the majority of new cars have a sat nav, learning to follow instructions safely may not be such a bad idea.

Children’s car seat rules

Finally, rules regarding child seat safety have been altered. You will not be able to buy a backless booster seat for children below the weight of 22kg or shorter than 125cm. In addition to this, children aged 15 months and under must now travel in a backwards facing car seat. The current law states that children must be seated in a child seat up until the age of 12 or until they are 135cm, whichever one comes first.

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