On January 1st several new driving laws came into effect. The Brexit debates and increasing concerns around climate change have affected the laws for UK drivers, many vehicle owners may be unaware of the changes that are already in effect.

Here are some of the crucial law changes that you need to know:

Low Emission Rules

Last year London replaced the T-charge scheme with the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Currently applied to Central London however this will also be extended to all of inner London for 2021. This policy could also be put in place for other parts of the country this year.

Car Tax Increase

If you’re an owner of a high emission vehicle you will be charged up to an additional £15 on your car tax. Diesel vehicle owners will also need to meet the new mandatory RDE2 emissions standard. If they fail, a higher tax rate will have to be paid. New car buyers will also face an extra £65 fee on the first year’s tax.

New MOT Rules

It’s important to get your car regularly MOT’d to ensure your safety and also the safety of other drivers. MOT’s now have new categories to help detect defects in cars.

Below is a list of the new categories that you will need to understand for your cars next MOT.

  • Pass – Meets the current legal standard
  • Advisory – Could have an effect in the future
  • Minor – No effect on safety, requires repair as soon as possible
  • Major – Could affect safety or the environment, cause for Fail
  • Dangerous – Direct risk to road safety or the environment, cause for fail

There are also new requirements being included in your MOT, the checks will include:

  • Under-inflated tyres
  • Contaminated brake fluid
  • Brake pad warning light/Missing brake pads or discs
  • Reversing lights
  • Daytime running lights

Driving Permits & Green Cards

Brexit has still left us unaware if we will be leaving the EU with a deal. However if the UK leaves without one, current British driving Licenses will be invalid for driving in Europe. The Government guidance advises that if you’re planning to drive in the EU you will need to buy an international permit costing £5.50, this will be available to purchase from the Post Office.

A motor insurance green card will also be required when driving your own car in the EU and EEA. These are available from your insurance provider by contacting them a month beforehand.

Driving Lessons on Motorways

Learner drivers were unable to use motorways until they had passed their test. The new law now allows them drive on motorways during lessons if accompanied by an instructor with dual controls in the car.