3 Jan 2019

Alterations to Road Laws in 2019

With 31.6 million cars, and 38.4 million vehicles, licensed for use on the roads in Great Britain, the need to know changes in road laws has never applied to so many people across the country.

As 2018 is left behind, to be replaced by 2019, there are a few alterations which you need to be aware of:

Changes to the MOT regulations

There are now five categories for issues highlighted following an MOT. Two of them – Dangerous and Major – lead to an immediate fail for your vehicle, while the remaining three categories – Minor, Advisory and Pass – are on a sliding scale of severity, with the Minor category calling for a repair as soon as possible without failing the vehicle on the spot. Advisory means the issue could become more serious in the future, while a Pass, obviously, means the vehicle is good to go.

Learner drivers on motorways

Previously, learner drivers weren’t allowed on motorways but now they are able to practice their skills on these roads provided they are accompanied by an instructor during their lesson.

Misuse of smart motorways

Smart motorways are the stretches of road with the signs above which denote which lanes are in use and which are unavailable to drivers. Primarily, this is to prepare traffic for an accident up ahead, with a giant X used to show the lane is closed to traffic. However, a common theme on roads is for some drivers to ignore this sign and use the lane anyway to get ahead on busy routes. In an effort to curb the misuse of smart motorways, penalties introduced include a £100 fine and three points on a driver’s licence if they are caught in the act.

Interaction with cyclists

Drivers are being actively encouraged to leave a car door’s width gap between vehicle and cyclist when overtaking. This is equivalent to 1.5 metres. Failure to do so can result in a £100 fine. This is part of a general improvement in attitudes towards cyclists, with the use of the 'Dutch Reach' being promoted, which sees a driver use the hand furthest away from the handle to promote looking behind for any oncoming cyclists, thus providing increased awareness of this vulnerable road user group.

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