New Changes Announced For Highway Code and MOT For 2019
The Highway Code has been updated for 2019 with a raft of changes in store for how drivers are meant to look after their cars and behave on the roads.
To help stop you from getting caught out, we've put together a guide to what the changes are and what they mean.
The new changes will see that cyclists and pedestrians are better protected and drivers could face a big fine if they don't follow the rules.
Plenty of people want to see the introduction of the 'Dutch Reach' method, which involves using your hand furthest away to the driver door to open it when stationary - meaning you have to reach across and pivot, giving you the chance to glance out of the window to check any oncoming traffic, in order to stop motorists from slamming their doors into passing cyclists.
The rules could also see drivers have to give way to cyclists and pedestrians when turning left - bringing the country in line with America, where pedestrians have priority.
Earlier this year changes to the law meant drivers now must be at least 1.5 metres away when passing a cyclist or face a £100 fine.
Transport minister Jesse Norman said: "Cycling and walking are increasingly being understood as crucial parts of an integrated approach to issues of health, obesity, air quality and town and city planning.
"But this will only happen if people feel safe on the roads.
"These measures are part of a steady process of improvement and reform designed to achieve just that."
Motorway driving for learners
When you first set foot in a car, the idea of taking to a motorway is terrifying - and for good reason.
Fortunately, you don't have to go near one until you finally pass your test, which - depending on how competent you are - can be some time.
Well, that can now be filed under 'the good old days' - according to the new rules, learners will be allowed to go onto motorways during their lessons.
But don't get too excited, you can't just jump in your mum's Corsa and head off up the M62. You'll have to be with a qualified instructor and in a car with dual controls.
Smart motorway fines
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While driving on any number of the country's finest motorways, you will probably have spotted the signs marked with a large, red 'X' that sometimes appears above one or more of the lanes.
No, it does not mean 'go as fast as you can'; it means get out of the lane because there is either an accident or an obstruction ahead, so don't be that guy.
But if you do ignore the warning, you could face a £100 fine and three points on your licence.
According to reports the new fine is expected to be announced in 2019 - and cameras will be used to spot offenders.
MOT rule changes
From next year the MOT check is going to be tougher, with not stone left unturned in making sure cars on the road are as safe as possible.
Here are the new categories;
- Dangerous - If it poses a direct risk to road safety or the environment.
- Major - If it affects the safety or the environment.
- Minor - If there is no effect on safety, but it needs to be repaired as soon.
- Advisory - If it could have an effect in future.
- Pass - If it meets all legal standards.
Other requirements are also being introduced, including under-inflated tyres, contaminated brake fluid, brake pad warning lights and missing brake pads or discs, reversing lights (for vehicles made after September 2009), and daytime running lights (for vehicles made after March 2018) will also be taken into account as part of the test.
Diesel car tax
In April, tax for diesel cars was increased.
Instead of cars being given as standard Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) - road tax - of £140 per year, it will be calculated based on the car's CO2 emissions.
Cars that emit between 191g and 225g of carbon dioxide will see their first-year tax rise by £500, while those that are more environmentally friendly 111 to 130g/km will see it go up by just £40.
The government is also considering making changes to licences for new drivers.
At the moment those behind the wheel for less than two years face tougher penalties for breaking the law, like using their phone at the wheel.
But according to the RAC a whole range of new restrictions could come into force in the near future, they include;
- Curfews - Times when drivers are allowed to be out on the road.
- Passengers - A limit to the number of people a new driver can have at any one time.
- Speed - Separate, lower speed limits.
- Engine sizes - A limit on how powerful their cars is allowed to be.
- Mandatory P plates - Currently optional, they could be made mandatory for up to two years.
- Alcohol - Lower limits than the general driving population.
Featured Image Credit: PA