UK Driving Laws – What Changed in 2018?

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UK Driving Laws – What Changed in 2018?

Through 2018 the government continued to tweak the UK motoring laws, attempting to reverse certain downward trends in driving habits, road safety and air pollution. Here NGP London Driving Lawyers look at some of the key changes which could affect you:

Learner drivers on motorways

Leaner drivers are now allowed on the motorway before their driving tests. Drivers must display L-plates and be accompanied by an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) in a dual-control vehicle.

With 85% of the UK population living within 20 miles of a motorway junction and concerns over inexperienced drivers taking to the fast lane without tuition, the new rules have been welcomed by road safety groups and motoring organisations such as the RAC.

New Motorway Laws

The government also announced a crackdown on dangerous driving on motorways, with new detection methods being trialled, including increased use of cameras installed in unmarked HGVs, following a trial in which one vehicle alone helped catch 4000 dangerous drivers in one year.

Use of closed lanes by ignoring the red-x signs will carry a fixed penalty of £100 and 3 penalty points.

Diesel cars

Diesel vehicle owners faced hefty tax increases when new CO2 bands were introduced on April 1st. In some cases new cars will cost drivers as much as £500 above standard excise duty. The tax hike was expected to affect approximately 3 million diesel drivers in the UK. The new Real Driving Emissions 2 standard becomes mandatory for manufacturers in 2020.

Toxicity Charge (T-Charge)

And those who use the capital’s roads and own older vehicles now have to pay a new toxicity charge as part of Transport for London’s efforts to clean up the polluted air in the city. The T-Charge costs drivers £10 per day, additional to the existing congestion charge. In 2019 the T-Charge will be replaced by the Ultra Low Emission Zone which will mean all vehicles using central London will have to meet new, even tighter emissions standards.

MOT testing

MOT tests have become harder to pass as the authorities continue to tackle emissions issues with older vehicles. Three fault levels have been introduced; dangerous, major and minor, with dangerous and major ratings carrying an automatic fail. Those in the Minor category may still pass the MOT but with advisories recorded on the MOT certificate.

There is also a further clampdown on diesel vehicles, with more stringent checks of DPFs (diesel particulate filters). A DPF which emits ‘visible smoke of any colour’ will result in a major fault classification and a failed MOT. Testers must also refuse to check a vehicle where there is evidence the DPF has been interfered with.

While many driving offences can be considered fairly minor, if they result in penalty points which take your driving licence over the 12 point disqualification threshold, this can have signifincant negative impact on your work and social life. If you are under threat of losing your licence then contact NGP London Driving Lawyers on 020 8309 5010 for a free consultation. We can help you understand your options and advise you, either on defending a case or appealing a conviction.