Small changes to the laws governing how we use the roads are made all the time, but over the next few months some bigger amendments will take affect which we all need to be aware of.
New rules and regulations are being introduced in 2018 which will affect learner drivers, new drivers who have just passed their tests and even those who have been driving for years.
We’ve listed five of the main changes to take note of to make sure you don’t get caught out…
1. Hard fines for hard shoulder driving
With four lane motorways becoming more common, Highways England are starting to clamp down on drivers misusing hard shoulders when lanes have been closed.
Over 80,000 motorists have already received a letter of caution after ignoring warnings about lane and hard shoulder closures.
From March, smart motorway cameras will be used to help authorities catch out drivers who ignore lane closure signs, which could lead to a £100 fine and three points on their licence.
2. Introduction of a ‘Graduated Driving Licence’ scheme?
Theresa May is reportedly looking to bring in probationary period for new drivers, in an attempt to curb the startling figure that drivers aged 17-24 are responsible for a quarter of crashes which lead to death or injury.
A similar ‘Graduated Driving Licence’ exists in Australia, New Zealand and the US, where drivers are unable to drive at night or with passengers under the age of 25, unless accompanied by an older adult.
Reports say it could also lead to a limit on maximum car engine sizes, a lowered drink-drive limit and even taking another test after the probation period ends.
3. Learner drivers on motorways
After Government research found very few drivers took motorway lessons after passing their test, from June learner drivers will be able to do this with their instructor under a provisional licence.
Although participation isn’t mandatory, the aim is to give new drivers more confidence with motorway driving whilst still being under the supervision of an approved driving instructor.
For anyone who does want to take part, dual control pedals and learner plates must be used on all motorway lessons.
4. New MOT rules being introduced
The MOT is set to become harder to pass from May 20th as vehicles will be rated out of three categories – dangerous, major and minor.
Tests resulting in a ‘dangerous’ or ‘major’ rating will automatically fail, although any found with minor faults may still scrape by with a pass, similar to how advisories work now.
5. Digital driving licenses
In 2017 the DVLA revealed it was developing a digital version of the driving licence, which is rumoured to launch in Spring 2018.
The development team said it would be a ‘quick, easy and secure’ service, which could be brought up from your smartphone, similar to how Apple Wallet manages Apple Pay and airline tickets now.
Although the paper licence has been retired, the new digital version is intended to support the photocard rather than replace it.