The Road Ahead: The New Driving Laws Arriving in 2019

As we ride into 2019, drivers can expect several new road laws, maintenance expectations and changes to the MOT system.

These changes affect all drivers, ranging from learners and those who are new to the wheel, to long-term drivers who will have to adapt how they travel.

Learners Now Driving on Motorways

Having just been given the go ahead in 2018, learner drivers are allowed to use motorways as part of their lessons.

Whilst new drivers were only allowed to drive on motorways after having passing their test, they are now able to experience high-speed driving along with an approved instructor and dual controls.

Though not a requirement to pass the test, the change of law hopes to not only improve safety among younger drivers, but to also help encourage driver confidence.

Graduated driving licenses

A new year long pilot-scheme is set to be trialled in Northern Ireland, which will provide newly-passed drivers with a graduated driving license.

A graduated license would include restrictions such as curfews, limit of passengers, speed, engine sizes and mandatory P signs, but these are still under consideration.

If the trial in Ireland meets expectations, we could soon be seeing a graduated licence rollout in the UK.

Smart motorway fines

Expected this year is a new fine for drivers who are caught using closed lanes on smarter motorways.

This refers to drivers who use lanes that have been marked with a red ‘x’ on the automated signs above the road, usually indicative of an accident or blockage ahead.

If found to be in one of these lanes, drivers can anticipate a £100 fine, as well as three points on their license. Roadside cameras are also due to be implemented to help catch offenders.

Passing Cyclists

According to The Highway Code, drivers are instructed to leave at least a distance of 1.5m when they’re passing a cyclist. To put this in perspective, this is around the width of a car door.

However, this guideline isn’t always met, given that some drivers are known to steer or drive too closely to cyclists.

In the next few months motorists could be fined up to £100 if found to be doing this, with ministers hoping this legislation will help to limit accidents and collisions.

New MOT rules

Coming into force this May, there will now be new MOT categories that cars will be rendered as:

  • Dangerous – Direct and immediate risk to road safety or the environment. Fail.
  • Major - Could affect safety, other road user safety or impact the environment. Fail.
  • Minor - No effect on safety, but should be repaired as soon as possible. Pass.
  • Advisory - Could have an effect in future. Pass.
  • Pass - Meets the current legal standards. Pass.

On top of this, there are a number of new legal requirements being introduced:

  • Under-inflated tyres
  • Contaminated brake fluid
  • Fluid leaks posing an environmental risk
  • Brake pad warning lights and missing brake pads or discs
  • Reversing lights (for vehicles used from September 2009)
  • Daytime running lights (for vehicles newer than March 2018)
Cyclists on the Road