By Debbie Holden 10 Dec 2018 7 min read

New driving law changes in 2018


As 2018 draws to a close, we explore the new driving laws that were introduced in the UK this year.


According to The Express, the driving laws range from new car tax rates to alterations to the driving test, and can results in some motorists landing a fine if they ignore the rules.


The new rules and laws could affect how you drive and use the roads across the country.


Increased tax for diesel motorists

The cost of car tax increased for diesel motorists earlier this year.


In April, newly registered diesel cars face a price hike of up to £500. Any car that did not meet the latest emission standards would face paying one tax band higher vehicle excise duty (VED). You can find out how much you could pay here.


Changes to MOT test

The MOT test changed on the 20th May, which saw a number of new rules introduced. One of the major changes was the introduction of the three new fault categories – minor, major and dangerous.


Cars that land a major or dangerous fault will automatically fail the test, but a minor fault will allow the driver to pass. Cars that land a dangerous fault will be illegal to drive and must be fixed immediately. Motorists that drive without a valid MOT certificate can be handed a find of up to £2,500 and three penalty points.


More attention will also be paid to steering systems, reversing lights and brake discs. Diesel drivers also face stricter testing under the new changes, making it harder for the cars to pass, particularly diesel cars which have a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).


Read about the MOT changes here.


Driving test

Changes to the driving theory test were also implemented.


New computer-generated imagery (CGI) clips have been added to the theory test in different driving conditions such as rain, sleet, snow or fog.


With young drivers typically being the highest risk group on the roads, the changes to the theory test have been introduced to better equip new motorists for real life situations, where there can be difficult driving conditions.


Learner drivers

Motorway driving lessons were introduced to learner drivers from 4th June.


Learners must be accompanied by an approved instructor in cars displaying L plates with dual-controls.


These lessons are not mandatory and will be down to the instructor to make the decisions as to whether the learner driver should take them.  Learner drivers may never experience motorway driving until after they have passed the practical test, hence why this option has been introduced.


Smart motorways

You can now face a fine in you drive on the hard shoulder of a motorway when the lane is closed. Ignoring the red X signs on the smart motorway gantry can land you a £100 fine and three penalty points.


Driving too close to a cyclist

Motorists driving too close to a cyclist could face a £100 fine. Motorists must be at least 1.5 metres away from a cyclist when passing or overtaking.