As new technology develops for our cars and roads, new requirements and laws are also set to be introduced with new driving laws set to come into force in the New Year. Now you may be wondering how these will affect the way in which we drive on the roads and how we maintain our vehicles but not to worry as we are here to provide you with all the information that you need from MOTs and motorways to passing cyclists and diesel car tax.
In terms of the new MOT rules, there will be new categories for cars being tested.
These categories include:
- Dangerous - Direct risk to road safety or the environment. Results in a Fail.
- Major - This could affect the safety or the environment. Results in a Fail.
- Minor - No effect on safety, but should be repaired as quickly as possible.
- Advisory - This could have an effect in the future.
- Pass - Meets the legal standards.
There is also a range of new legal requirements that are being introduced to MOTs for the first time, which include:
- Under-inflated tyres
- Contaminated brake fluid
- Brake pad warning lights and missing pads or discs
- Reverse lights (for vehicles newer than September 2009)
- Daytime running lights (for vehicles newer than March 2018)
For many years it has been the law that new drivers could not use motorways until they had passed their test. However, due to recent changes, learner drivers are now allowed to take to the motorway as part of their lessons.
It should be noted that learner drivers must be accompanied by an instructor with dual controls and that motorway driving is optional for learners, not compulsory for learners to have lessons on the motorway.
The government is considering introducing fines of up to £100 for those motorists who used closed lanes on smart motorways.
You may already be familiar with this but when driving on smart motorways closed lanes are marked by red Xs on the automated signs above the closed lane. The reason why a lane is shut is likely to be because there has been an accident or blockage ahead and the red Xs are used to prevent any further incidents from occurring.
If you choose to ignore this sign, you face the risk of a £100 fine plus three points on your license.
To help identify those drivers who violate these restrictions, it is believed that there will be modifying roadside cameras in a bid to catch these offenders.
Drivers have always been advised that you should always leave plenty of room for a cyclist when passing, but if you are now caught passing within a certain distance, you could be faced with a fine.
Following new legislation in March, you could face a fine of £100 if you do not leave enough space.
If you're unsure as to how much space that you should leave between your car and a cyclist, please refer to The Highway Code, which states that drivers should leave at least 1.5, (4.9ft) between the car and a cyclist, which is roughly the width of a standard car door.
Diesel car tax
From April 1st of this year, you may have noticed that the tax rates for diesel cars were increased. This applies to the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), otherwise known as road tax.
Rather than it being a fixed rate for the year at £140, the VED rate will now be calculated based on the car's carbon dioxide emissions.
The highest raise for first-year tax is £500 and this is for cars that emit between 191 and 225g of carbon dioxide per year. However, those whose cars are more environmentally friendly and emit 111 to 130g/km, will only see their tax increase by £40.