The new year has arrived, but as 2018 eases into gear are you up to speed with changes in motoring law, regulation and taxation from 2017?
Here’s our round-up of what changed for drivers over the past 12 months.
Make sure you’re up to date with changes to motoring law and regulations that came into force in 2017 – before this guy catches up with you: Image credit RTimages/Thinkstock
Keeping on top of new rules and regulations will help you avoid fines, penalty points and even disqualification. It’ll also ensure you can budget for the year ahead with changes including the likes of how vehicles are taxed.
Here’s a quick look back at changes, which came into force during 2017, and how they could impact your motoring.
How you use your mobile phone, March 1, 2017
Using a mobile phone while driving can make a motorist twice as likely to crash as a drunk driver. This prompted tough new legislation that came into force during 2017.
What’s changed? While it was already illegal to use a phone while driving, 2017 welcomed much tougher penalties to target offenders.
Until March 2017, drivers using a mobile device could expect just 3 penalty points on their licence and a fine of £100.
From March onwards, anyone using a phone while driving, could expect the following penalties…
First-time offenders: 6 penalty points and £200 fine
Repeat offenders: Court appearance where they’ll face a ban of at least 6 months and £1,000 fine
Newly qualified drivers: Those who’ve been driving for less than 2 years face having their licence revoked after a first offence and made to drive as a learner until they pass their test again.
Did you know that rules governing how kids are carried in cars changed on March 1, 2017? New legislation means it’s now illegal to have a car seat incorrectly fitted or sized.
Make sure you get the right seat for your child as laws change
What’s changed? From March, only children who weigh more than 22kg or are at least 4ft 10in tall are supposed to use the backless booster-type seats that rest on a car’s seating.
All under-12s and any kids less than 4ft 5in tall, must travel in a special car seat.
Once they reach 12 years old or the minimum height of 4ft 5in, kids can then travel in a car’s regular seats.
Babies who are 15 months or younger must be seated in a rear-facing travel seat, while those weighing less than 9kg should travel in a baby carrier.
Do I need to replace my seats that don’t comply with the new rules? The new rules will only apply to new purchases made after March 1, 2017, so mums and dads won’t be fined for children using the backless booster seats if they were bought before this date. It’s difficult to see how this will be enforced – will parents be expected to carry receipts?
There was a time when Brits could only receive on-the-spot fines for speeding offences committed in Europe. However, all that changed in May, 2017.
Continental roads might seem enticing, but failing to observe local laws could now land you with big fines
What’s changed? An all-new EU cross-border directive came into force for Brits driving on the Continent.
The EU Cross-Border Enforcement Directive is designed to help host countries track down foreign motorists who break laws – and often escape punishment due to international red-tape.
The directive covers the following offences – and anyone recording one while in Europe will now face a penalty charge.
Not using a seatbelt;
Not stopping at a red traffic light or other mandatory stop signal;
Driving under the influence of drugs;
Not wearing a safety helmet (for motorcyclists);
Using a forbidden lane (such as the forbidden use of an emergency lane, a lane reserved for public transport, or a lane closed down for road works);
Illegally using a mobile phone, or any other communications device, while driving.
April also brought higher first-year and one-off payments for new cars and adjusted second-year fees for older vehicles.
The new rules also upset owners of low-CO2 vehicles, such as hybrids, because many lost their zero-rated road tax entitlement.
New rules mean that only all-electric cars that cost under £40,000 benefit from paying no road tax.
What’s changed? Along with the revised ratings for low-CO2 vehicles, first-year rates have been updated, while second-year rates will be worked out depending on fuel and type of car.
Additionally, cars costing over £40,000 will pay a £310 surcharge.
The full list of post-April 2017 rates are as follows:
VED road tax charges for cars registered from April 2017: From April 2017, the amount you pay for VED (also known as road tax) will increase for most vehicle owners. Many motorists who buy low-emissions vehicles will find they have to pay VED for the first, time. The new VED charges are as follows.
First year rate
Cars with a list price of more than £40,000 when new pay an additional rate of £310 per year on top of the standard rate, for five years
Will I pay more for my old car after the April 2017 changes? No. Pre-April 2017 tax bands won’t change for cars that were already registered. This will remain the case if they are sold. This could result in sub-100g/km cars attracting a hefty premium when sold on the used market as they will still be charged no VED. The same can be said for higher-polluting vehicles, too, which will also retain the same VED rates for examples registered before 1 April, 2017.
There’s more pain coming for diesel drivers in 2018, with the Chancellor Philip Hammond using his autumn Budget to push up the first-year payment that buyers of new oil-burners will be forced to pay.