Changes in vehicle laws for 2018

As a responsible driver, to stay within the law you have to be aware of any changes or alterations to the law regarding the roads or the vehicle that you drive. Just as when driving abroad, you make sure to pack your breathalyser and your snow chains, to stay safe in the UK you need to know what actions will now cause you to face a penalty.

Whether you are driving a second-hand diesel or one of our new ford cars, different rules and regulations apply. So, make sure you are not caught short by not only knowing what laws apply but when they will be enforced.

Misusing motorways

Misusing motorways

Motorways are often a sore spot when it comes to frustrated drivers on Britain’s roads. Smart Motorways that have been slowly introduced to the UK are meant to ease congestion and make the entire driving process much less stressful. However, despite applying technology to our roads, there are still occurrences of drivers causing chaos.

New Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will be installed on major motorways to stop drivers from queue jumping. It is irritating, but everyone has seen it, sitting in a long line of traffic and one car races along the hard shoulder or up the lane that is closed (with a red X above it on a smart motorway) and then pushes in further along.

The Brits, who are known for their queuing expertise, adherence to polite social norms that surround lining up, and complete devotion to waiting their turn, have taken steps to stop people misusing their motorways. Now that sort of behaviour will come with an automatic penalty of £100 and three points on their licence. This may seem harsh but hopefully it will work as a preventative measure.

Tax rises for diesel cars

Tax rises for diesel cars

April may be the start of Easter, the sign that spring is on its way and the run up to the London Marathon, but it is also the month that new laws regarding the car tax for diesel vehicles comes into play. For over a decade, the government have told us that diesel cars were better for the environment and by choosing one of these vehicles, drivers would be rewarded.

According to the Autumn Budget in November 2017, there will be some changes made to the taxation of diesel cars. In an effort to promote electronic vehicles, any car that produces more than 1.5 times the allowed 80mg/km of NOx limit will be forced to pay more for road tax. This is due to the belief that the ‘real world’ car tests still give an unrealistic view of fuel consumption and pollution produced. Since 2015’s expose of Volkswagens emissions cheating scandal, the UK is moving towards what is expected to be a more reliable test.

The alteration in tax rates only applies to diesel cars, not vans and new diesel cars bought from April 2018. This is having an impact on people buying new cars with diesel engines, which according to the Society of Motoring Manufacturing and Traders has decreased by 25 per cent compared to the same month last year.

There will also be a hike in tax for vehicles worth over a certain amount and motorhomes are included so it is worth checking with the government website to see if this will affect you or your vehicle.

Changes to children’s car seats

Changes to children’s car seats

Passenger safety is always important, especially when it refers to safety of children in the front or back of a vehicle. There has always been lots of legislation around children’s car seats as technology advances in an effort to keep children safe and it is worth bearing in mind this new law only apply to those car seats or boosters that are entering the market and not pre-existing models.

According to Made for Mums:

“A new law on backless booster car seats (booster cushions) has come into force. The regulation stops manufacturers creating new models of booster cushions for children shorter than 125cm tall or weighing less than 22kg. When a company now designs or invents a new backless booster seat, it will have to be for children over 125cm tall (4ft1) or heavier than 22kg (3 stone 6.5 pounds) - whichever comes first.”

In addition to this, children under the age of 15 months old must travel in a car seat that faces backwards and the government website states children under the age of 12 or shorter than 135 centimetres tall must use a booster seat to ensure their seatbelt fastens correctly.

MOT legislation

MOT legislation

Some people find their annual MOT experience a dreaded anniversary while others sail through without breaking a sweat. However, with changes to the legislation around MOTs and testing more variables, more people may be feeling concerned when that time of year comes back around.

The new laws will come into effect around May 20th in 2018 and in collaboration with the new taxation of diesel cars, all vehicles will see their DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) being checked. Any vehicles that have had their DPF tampered with or removed will see an instant failure of the test.

Other areas that will now come into scrutiny include headlamp bulbs as aftermarket high definition headlight bulbs will be outlawed. Reversing lights will also be tested and brake fluid will be checked.

Another alteration to the MOT is how flaws will be categorised and will now see minor, major and dangerous faults. While minor faults may be fixed at the driver’s discretion, faults deemed dangerous will have to be fixed on site and the vehicle will not be allowed to be driven from the test centre until it has been deemed road worthy again. For those who wish to further investigate the official and complete changes surrounding the MOT, check out the government website.

Image credits: JingleJammer (Flickr), Ruben de Rijcke (Wikimedia Commons), Highways england (Flickr)