We’ve said it before, but the U.K’s roads are some of the safest in Europe. But, in order to continue to minimise the risk of death or serious injury, each years the laws are seemingly becoming tighter and tighter. And it’s not necessarily all about safety either, with recent law changes also addressing changes in environment policy and even in the way we learn to drive in this country.
Perhaps one of the lesser known new laws is the change that allows learner drivers, with an instructor alongside in a car with dual controls, to be driven on the Motorway. Previously, the arguement had (partly) been that roof boxes for learners could be blown of at the faster speeds but an acceptance was made that this needn’t actually be the case. Though ironically, a member of the Auto National social media team did recently spot one of the said Learner Driver roof boxes in the central reservation of a dual carraigeway…
Cyclists are road users too and love them, or hate them, there are now laws governing our behaviour towards them. Fines will soon be issued for drivers who are deemed to have passed too close to a cyclist using the road, and with the growth in the use of personal head and helmet cams, this is potentially a law that could affect a lot of people, if they decide to act irresponsibly or selfishly. The accepted distance stated in the Highway code for passing a cyclist is 1.5m in case you were wondering.
A probably imminent new law is to address the incorrect use of Smart Motorways. With so many of the nations motorways being painfully converted (remember the M3 Road works?) to ‘Smart’ status, drivers are going to need to understand the illuminated signage instructions, and adhere to them. How many times have we all been sat in a jam on a motorway with one lane closed with somebody flying down that closed lane and then turning in at the very last minute? The rumoured change to the law will punish those who ignore the closed lane ‘red cross’ illuminated signs. And too right too, many of us would agree.
Finally, the state of our vehicles is continually being scrutinised in law, and in person. Cars over 3 years old have to have MOTs, as we know but the MOTs became a lot tougher in 2018 and so as we enter 2019, the extent of this tightening of law will become known to a lot more people as they take their cars in for it’s annual check for the first time since the laws came into play. MOTs now grade failures into different ‘categories’ of fail, from minor to dangerous meaning some people won’t even be able to drive their vehicles home from a test station if it’s deemed a danger to themselves or other road users at the point of inspection. If you take the risk and do still drive the car, even with the remainder of the old MOT remaining, with a ‘dangerous’ fail, you could be fined up to £2500 and have points put on your licence.
We’re sure they’ll be further changes and tweaks in 2019 as the year unfurls…