There are some big changes heading for motorists this year with the introduction of 8 news laws that could affect you in 2018.
April - Digital Driving Licences
Last year a prototype digital driving licence was tested that will sit on your phone or in the Apple Wallet. The new digital licence will be used to support the photocard rather than replace it.
April - New Tax on Diesel Cars
In April this year motorists with a diesel car will face a higher rate of tax. Tax is based on your car’s emissions. The higher the emissions, the higher the tax. For example, if your car emits 151 – 170 g/km of CO2 you will pay £800 in tax (this figure is based on the new 2018 rates). The change is mainly focusing on diesel car drivers as their emissions are higher than petrol cars.
May - MOTs Scrapped for Classic Cars
It was announced that vehicles over 40 years old would be exempt from an MOT test. This law will be put into place in May this year. It is thought that people who own these cars tend to be enthusiasts, and maintain their vehicles well. Therefore the need for an MOT is not as vital as standard car owners. According to statistics, these cars also have a lower accident and MOT failure rate than newer vehicles. This does not apply to commercially-used large goods vehicles (maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes) and buses (vehicles with eight or more seats). This new law is controversial, as some think it’s potentially putting other drivers at risk. However, drivers of classic cars will still be legally obligated to keep their vehicles safe and roadworthy.
May - New MOT test categories
May continues to be a big month for MOT changes. MOT test results will now be sorted into three new categories. The three categories for the MOT will now be dangerous, major and minor. This potentially could make the test harder to pass. If your car receives a dangerous or major fault it will instantly fail the test. If your car has a minor defect, it will still be able to pass, but it will be noted down on the MOT certificate. For example, if a car is leaking oil it would be a minor fault. But if it is dripping, the fault would be major and the car would fail the test. Furthermore, on 20th May, diesel filters will also form part of the MOT test. You will fail the test if your filter has been removed or tampered with.
Spring - Motorway Law Changes
New laws are being put in place in spring 2018 to stop motorists driving on lanes that are closed. Smart motorways run on four lanes. In peak periods, automated signs open and close the hard-shoulder to ease traffic at peak times. Driving in a closed lane is already illegal, but the new law will bring in a new fixed penalty for drivers flouting this rule. This will be monitored by cameras which will catch drivers breaking the speed limit or driving in a closed lane.
Also in 2018:
Trading in your diesel model could mean a massive saving.
In 2017, some companies introduced a scrappage scheme for models that were registered before 2010. Now, more schemes have been announced in 2018. Trading in your car for something more fuel efficient could mean up to £2,000 off for cars, and £7,000 off for vans. These schemes are designed to encourage drivers to choose a more eco-friendly model, and reduce pollution caused by diesel cars. To qualify for this scheme, your car must comply with Euro 1-4 emissions standards. Usually this means the car was registered before 2010. At the minute, there’s no official government backed scheme, but many companies are offering this sort of deal.
New drivers to be banned from driving at night
This year, new drivers are facing some restrictions when they pass. One of these is driving at night. These could be imposed for up to two years until the new driver gains more experience. New drivers have a high amount of accidents on the road and this restriction aims to reduce this. The law was previously dismissed as some new drivers relied on driving at night for their work.
Learner drivers to be allowed on motorways
Finally, drivers will be able to have lessons on the motorway this year. In order to do this, they must be accompanied by an approved instructor with dual controls. This will give learners a chance to build their confidence on motorways, so it doesn’t seem so daunting when they pass the test. It is essential that you are aware of the new laws and adhere to them in order to avoid receiving a fixed penalty or incurring points on your licence. In the event you do receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) or a Court Summons, it is essential that you act quickly. The process will not go away, so it should not be ignored – any delay could affect your case.
If you need any further advice or require assistance with a motoring case, do not hesitate to contact our motoring team on 0191 211 1517.