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New driving regulations – do you know them all?

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First4Lawyers, June 14, 2018

Throughout 2018 a number of driving regulations are changing or being introduced. If you are a driver then it is important that you are aware of these changes to avoid being caught out.

Learners are now allowed on the motorway

As of 4th June 2018 learners are able to go on motorways with an instructor, as long as the instructor has dual controls and is properly licenced. Previously, learners were not allowed to do so until they had passed their test.

The aim of this change is to help make motorways safer by preparing learners for driving in these different conditions, rather than throwing them in at the deep end after they’ve passed their test.

It follows a change to the driving test in December that introduced the use of sat navs in driving tests. One of the reasons for the introduction was that one in four accidents involving new drivers were due to being distracted by a sat nav.

New diesel regulations

From 20th May 2018 new diesel regulations will make it harder to pass your MOT.

The test has now been extended to include the checking of particulate filters. If the vehicle produces a visible smoke then it will fail the MOT.

Vehicles will also fail if the particulate filter has been tampered with.

Ensure that your diesel is running well and as cleanly as possible before its MOT to help your chances of passing.

Punishment for driving in closed motorway lanes

This was something that was trialled at the beginning of 2018, and has now been made permanent as of March 2018.

Smart motorways have been around for a few years now, but from this year fines and points will be issued for ignoring signs for road closures.

If you fail to move out of lane when the overhead gantries tell you that the road is closed, you will be liable for three points on your licence and a fixed penalty of £100.

Road closures on smart motorways can be due to an obstruction or to improve the flow of traffic, so it’s important to follow instructions at all times for your safety and for the safety of those around you.

Harsher MOT rules

Vehicle defects discovered during an MOT will now be categorised into three types:

- Dangerous

- Major

- Minor

There will also be advisories offered if something could become serious in future, but will be okay if fixed soon.

Along with the introduction of these categories and the new rules surrounding diesel emissions, there will also be new items tested during the MOT.

MOTs will now test for:

- Whether daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1st March 2018 are working

- Under-inflation of tyres

- Contamination of brake fuel

- If brake pads or discs are missing, or if there is a brake pad warning light

- Fluid leaks that could pose an environmental risk

- Whether reversing lights are working on vehicles first used from 1st September 2009

- If vehicles first used from 1st September 2009 have headlight washers these will be tested

In addition to these changes, the MOT test certificate itself has changed to make the new categories clear and easy to understand.

Furthermore, if your vehicle is over 40 years old you may be exempt from needing an MOT.

Cars, vans, motorcycles and ‘other light passenger vehicles’ will not need an MOT from the 40th anniversary of when they were manufactured or registered. You can check this date online.

You will still need to tax your vehicle (even if you don’t pay a fee) and during this process you will need to declare that it meets the rules for not needing an MOT.

Remember, you can be fined up to £1,000 if you drive a vehicle without a valid MOT so it is important to get this done.

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