Updates To Road Traffic Laws You Need To Know About
In 1935, the first driving test was taken. Back then, tests were very simple, but today,
driving tests are refined on a yearly basis to prepare new drivers for modern roads
and vehicle technologies.
But what about those of us who have been behind the wheel for several years? As
tests are honed, so are driving laws, making it essential for all drivers – new and old
– to keep up to date with the latest changes to road traffic regulations.
Stricter penalties for using mobiles while driving
From 1st March 2017
We all know that using your mobile phone whilst driving is illegal – it has been since
December 2003. However, whereas offences formerly entailed a fixed fine of £100
and 3 penalty points, 2017 sees much stricter consequences.
As of March, fines for drivers caught using a mobile device increased to £200, along
with 6 penalty points. Andrew from VHS Fletchers said “Drivers who are within two years of receiving their licence will have these revoked and have to take their driving test again.”
So, if you’re tempted to reply to that text or pick up that call, don’t – it can wait!
Increases to speeding fines
From 24th April 2017
Speeding also sees firmer punishments from 2017. Until April this year, the minimum
speeding penalty was a £100 fine and 3 licence points. Now, a new Band C speeding
fine has been introduced for the most serious offenders.
This amount is calculated at 150% of the driver’s weekly income, plus 6 penalty
points or disqualification from driving for up to 56 days. A band B fine will result in a
fine of 100% of the driver’s weekly income and 4 penalty points, and a Band A
penalty will entail a 50% fine plus three penalty points. Best to keep an eye on that
Bands implemented for driving without insurance
From 24th April 2017
Driving without insurance is never a good idea, and now even more so, as the former
single-bracket sentencing has been extended. Now, there are three categories of
severity, taking into account elements of culpability and harm, such as a lack of
driving licence, or causing an accident whilst uninsured.
Road tax rules revamped
For cars registered on or after 1st April 2017
If you’re looking to register to tax a vehicle, you will need to be aware of a new
system that has been introduced for cars registered on or after the 1 st April 2017.
Drivers must now pay a one-off tax charge for the first year based on their car’s
emissions, with the following years’ charges kept to a flat rate of £140 per year for
petrol and diesel cars, and £130 for those running on alternative fuel.
Exemptions are made only for zero-emissions vehicles, and cars costing over
£40,000 are subject to an additional £310 annual supplement for the first five years
they are on the road.
Laws tightened on reporting road accidents
From 24 h April 2017
Before this year, courts initially considered imposing licence points for failure to stop
or report a road incident. However, from April, a category 2 (middle bracket) offence
and above may result in a driving disqualification of at least 6 months.
As with other serious offences, categories are determined through culpability, with
elements such as evading breath tests leading to stricter punishments.