The new driving legislation affecting you in 2018


9 March 2018

By Elizabeth Bradshaw

New MoT legislation

On May 20th new MoT changes will come into force. These changes are strict and will affect your success of passing your next MoT. Any diesel car that has had its DPF (diesel particulate filters) removed or tampered with will instantly fail the MoT test and in addition to that high definition headlamp bulbs will also be outlawed. Reversing lights will be tested for the first time, and your car will also fail if the brake fluid is visually deteriorated. Classic cars over 40 years old will now be exempt from testing, too. A car with dangerous faults cannot be driven away from the test until 100% of the repairs have been carried out.

Learner drivers to be allowed on motorways

Starting this year, whether they will be pleased or not, learners will be allowed on motorways for the first time. However, motorway driving will not become a part of a new method to test if someone if fit to drive on their own.

New penalties for misusing motorways

New ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) based cameras will be introduced on major motorways to monitor misuse of the hard shoulder. If a driver uses the hard shoulder on a managed motorway when it isn’t open, or drives in a lane with a red ‘X’ above it, the cameras will automatically trigger a penalty, which includes a £100 fine and three points on your driving licence. It is anticipated that this new penalty will catch quite a few people out!

Changes to the driving test

Driving on the motorway will not form part of a driving test. The new test laws will include a section where delegates are expected to follow instructions from a sat nav unit to prove they can follow the directions safely. The test will also include a section where the driver is asked to demonstrate a function of the car, such as how the windscreen wipers work, or how to demist the windscreen. More dynamic manoeuvres such as reversing into a car park bay are now also part of the new driving test.

Taxes will rise for diesel cars

Owners of diesel cars will incur a first year car tax for all diesel cars that aren’t compliant with the Euro 6 emissions standard and this tax will rise by one tax bracket from April 1st, with rates to increase by anything from £20 to £560 in the first year depending on the model and its current emissions.

Children’s car seats

Significant changes have been made regarding the rules around child car seat safety. New models of backless booster seats will only be suitable for children taller than 125cm or weighing more than 22kg, with high back seats featuring guides to lower the level of the seatbelt in line with the passenger’s shoulders. In addition, all children below 15 months old must now travel in a backwards-facing car seat. It will be Policy that all children must use a child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first. Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must also wear a seatbelt. You can also choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight.

If you require legal representation for any motoring offences please contact our specialist Crime Team on either 01245 358894 or  

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues