Driving laws 2017 – All UK rule changes revealed and explained
Earlier this year the mobile phone driving laws changed increasing the penalty for drivers flouting the rules.
Punishments for these offences became tougher as of March this year, with drivers now facing a £200 fine and six penalty point endorsement on their licence.
The latter penalty is enough to see a motorists, that has been driving for two years or less, facing a ban from driving.
The fine for being caught using your phone while behind the wheel can also see face a disqualification and larger fine, if your case goes to court.
Car owners could be fiend up to £1,000 while HGV and bus drivers could face up to £2,500 depending on the severity of the offence.
Phone sat nav
Using your phone as a sat nav can also see drivers land a fine and penalty points.
Motorists using these devices must ensure that the phone is mounted safely and correctly for the duration of the journey and they must not touch it while driving.
Despite the use of phones as a sat nav is not illegal, you could still face a fine if it can be deemed to be a distraction.
Driving without due care and attention carries a penalty of either three and nine penalty points or a distraction.
Fines for these offences can also rise up to £2,500.
Child car seats
As of March 1st 2017, new child car seat rules applied.
Under the renewed regulations it is illegal to have your child’s car seat fitted incorrectly.
Only children who weigh 22kg or more, or are 4ft 10in (125cm) tall will be recommended to use the backless booster seats.
All children who are under 12 years old or less than 4ft 5in tall (135 cm) will be required to travel in a car seat.
Once the child is older than 12 or reaches the height guideline, then they will be allowed to travel in the regular adult car seat.
People found to be travelling with an ‘unsuitable’ or inappropriately fitted car seat can be fined £500.
Babies that are 15 months old or younger must travel in a rear-facing seat and babies that are under 9kg should travel in a baby carrier and not a child seat.
When fitting a car seat only a seatbelt with a diagonal strap should he used unless the seat is specifically designed to be used with a lap belt of ISOFIX anchor points are used.
When buying a suitable car seat, you should look out for an orange ‘approved’ logo.
On these labels should be a capital E and the code R129, as this information signifies that this is an approved seat to buy and therefore suitable.
Drivers caught speeding can face a hefty fine
New speeding fine laws were introduced on 24th April which saw the way fines were calculated changed.
A new three band system which was introduced which ranks the severity of the offence and charges drivers using a percentage bracket.
A minor offence constitutes a band A charge. Band A charges are for drivers who exceed the stated speed limit between one and 10mph.
So, if a driver travels 31mph up to 40mph in a 30mph zone, they can be charged between 25 per cent and 75 per cent of their weekly income.
Drivers who exceed the stated speed limit by 11mph up to 20mph will be charged between 75 per cent and 125 per cent of their wage.
Major offences, which are for speed limit breaches of up 22mph and above will be charged between 125 per cent and 175 per cent of their week wage.
In addition to the variable fee motorists could land themselves with a driving offence of this nature, they could also receive between three and six penalty points.
The maximum fines retained the same cap of £1,000 for car and £2,500 for major ones.
Car tax increased on April 2017 and is expected to rise next year
Car tax 2017 and 2018
In April car tax rules changed introduced higher first year one off payments and standardised second year fees.
Under the new rules only all-electric cars costing under £40,000 would not have to pay tax.
Any car with a value over £40,000 faces paying a £310 surcharge on top of their carat cost.
Second year standard rate charges will vary for drivers depending on what type of car they are and what fuel they use.
-£140 per year for petrol and diesel vehicles
-£130 per year for ‘alternative fuel’ vehicles, such as hybrids
-£0 per year for zero emissions vehicles, such as fully electric
First year ‘licence rate’ (based on the vehicle’s emissions)
120g/km – £160
150g/km – £200
170g/km – £500
Over 255g/km – £2,000
In the Autumn Budget Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed that diesel car owners would face paying up to a band higher car tax if their cars do not meet the emissions standard.
This could add up to £500 a year on the first year rate of car tax.
For example to tax a car which emits 160g/km of CO2 you would pay £200 for the first year, but under the new tax rules you’d pay £500.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan introduced a new toxic T-Charge in October of this year.
The new charge will be applicable to motorists whose cars don’t meet a preset emissions standard travelling in the Congestion Charge zone in London.
Owners of cars with pre EU4 emissions standard cars will have to pay a £10 toxic levy on top of the standard Congestion Charge zone fee, taking the daily total to £22.50.
Life in prison for dangerous driving
Dangerous drivers who cause death while driving now far life in prison in an attempt to cut road tragedies.
Those caught speeding, using a mobile phone or drink and drugs while driving all face a life sentence if they cause a fatality.
EU speeding laws
On May 7, British motorists caught speeding in Europe could face £640 fines, due to a new Brussels rule.
Member states have been given powers to track down UK motorists and hand them the fines, if an offence is made.
From December 4th, learner drivers taking their practical test face a revised examination with four major changes being made.
The independent portion of the new driving test has extended from 10 minutes in length to 20 minutes.
Sat navs are also now a mandatory part of the test with learners required to follow them during the independent portion for eat eat, opposed to the old test where drivers needed to follow road markings and signs.
Two manoeuvres – reverse around the corner and turn in the road – were scrapped in the new test.
They were replaced by one of three reversing manoeuvres:
– Parallel park at the side of the road
– Park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
– Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic
Show me tell me questions will also now be asked while you are taking the test.
The ‘tell me’ questions will still be asked at the start of the exam while the ‘show me’ questions will be asked while you’re driving.