A number of new driving rules are coming into effect throughout the UK in 2019 – and Brexit could lead to even more changes.
(This article is an amalgam of advice garnered from several sources concerning changes to the laws surrounding vehicles and driving which are occurring in the near future or are likely to occur due to the current political situation)
If the UK leaves without a deal, UK driving licences may no longer be valid in the European Union.
Meanwhile, the need to tackle climate change and adapt to new technology around vehicles and driving is also leading to changes in driving laws
Driving Permits and Green Cards
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it could mean drivers will have to purchase new licenses to drive in the EU.
On January 14, 2019 the Government released new guidance informing Brits their current driving licenses will be useless on the continent in a no-deal scenario.
If you’re planning to drive in the EU as a holidaymaker or visitor, you will have to spend £5.50 on an international permit if we leave without a deal. This will be available to purchase from Post Office.
You will need to carry a motor insurance green card when driving in the EU and EEA. Contact your insurance provider one month before you travel to obtain green cards for your vehicle, caravan or trailer.
Intelligent Speed Assist
Intelligent Speed Assist is one of a feature which will become mandatory for the safety of new cars from 2022 under the EU’s revised General Safety Regulation. The goal is to increase road safety and minimise collisions.
Other soon-to-be mandatory safety systems include warnings for driver distraction and drowsiness, cameras/sensors for reversing, advanced emergency braking, lane keeping assistance and a ‘black box’ data recorder for incident reporting.
For years, it was the law new drivers could only use motorways once they had already passed their driving test. They are now allowed to use them as part of a lesson when they are accompanied by an instructor with dual controls in the car.
However, this is only optional – it isn’t compulsory for learners to have lessons on them.
Low Emission Zone rules
Glasgow became the first low emission zone at the end of last year and is slowly being phased in. To start with, it only applies to local service buses.
However, by December 31 2022 it will be fully phased in and all vehicles entering the zone will have to meet specified exhaust emission standards.
London has already introduced an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in April this year, replacing a previous T-charge scheme.
If a vehicle doesn’t meet ULEZ emission standards, the driver will have to pay a charge to enter in the area: £12.50 for most vehicles (cars, motorcycles and vans) and £100 for heavier vehicles like lorries.
As you may have noticed in a previous communication from the club, there is no provision or exempt for vintage, classic or retro vehicles to be used within the zone which could effectively ban people living within the zone from owning them and would likely put paid to using them on visits, runs or fetes / shows within the zone.
In April this year, Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) went up in line with inflation, according to the Retail Prices Index. These VED rises apply to all cars, and for most drivers they unfortunately mean annual car tax costs have already increased by £5.
Existing owners of high emission cars will be charged up to an additional £15, while diesel car owners whose vehicles fail to meet the RDE2 emissions standard (that will become mandatory next year), will continue to pay higher tax rates. Meanwhile new car buyers could face an extra £65 on first year car tax.
New Drug Driving laws
Scotland’s law on drink driving has had a much lower threshold than elsewhere in the UK for several years.
In Scotland more than 22 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath will qualify as drink driving, the equivalent in England is 35 microgrammes.
However you may have missed that Scotland’s laws on drug driving are becoming more strict in 2019.
There’s a zero-tolerance approach to illegal drugs, and medication will have limits based on impairment and risk to road safety.
For those caught driving under the influence of illegal drugs, prosecutors will no longer have to prove their driving was impaired.
Anyone taking medication in line with the prescription they have can claim a medical defence to the new offence, which comes into effect on October 21.
However if the prescription indicates that they should not drive while taking the medication then they are unable to claim this defence.
New MOT rules
There are new categories for defects with cars which drivers will have to understand, which are:
- Dangerous – Direct risk to road safety or the environment. Results in a Fail.
- Major – Could affect safety or the environment. Results in a Fail.
- Minor – No effect on safety, but should be repaired as soon as possible.
- Advisory – Could have an effect in future.
- Pass – Meets the current legal standards.
A variety of new requirements are also being included in the MOT for the first time.
These checks include:
- Under-inflated tyres
- Contaminated brake fluid
- Brake pad warning lights and missing brake pads or discs
- Reversing lights (for vehicles newer than September 2009)
- Daytime running lights (for vehicles newer than March 2018).
Some things won’t change though – the government considered lengthening the wait for a vehicle’s first MOT from three to four years, but it will now remain unchanged.
Remember that despite a number of our vehicles being exempt from MOT testing, they should be able to pass an MOT to be used on public roads – any discovered faults which would be classed as dangerous or major will result in the vehicle being removed from use.
The new smart motorway system isn’t being applied in Scotland – at least not in the same manner. However, Scottish drivers will still need to take care they don’t fall foul of the law when heading south.
It will soon be illegal to drive in a lane closed by a red X sign on a smart motorway such as the M6.
If caught, you could receive a fixed penalty of up to £100 and three points, and in some cases stronger penalties.
The debate around what age a tyre remains safe under use still rages on and the proposed 10 year limit has been challenged by Classic Car pressure groups as the main factors determining usability and structural safety are related to storage conditions.
As yet there is no firm outcome but we’ll keep you up to date with developments.