Cars & Garages > Stories

New driving laws for 2019 - how they affect you

Eleanor Newis
Feb 1, 2019

Every year, a variety of new road rules and driving laws are introduced to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians in the UK.

2019 is no different to the years before, and motorists should be aware of how any new regulations might impact them and potentially cost them more.

These changes can range from new alternations to smart motorways to increases in car tax.

Here is what you should know about the changes this year:

1 New fines and points for overtaking cyclists dangerously

Drivers should always be careful around cyclists, especially when overtaking, to ensure that they don’t put them in dangerous situations. The new rules state however that you can now be fined and have penalty points added to your driving licence if you don’t drive carefully.

The new edition of the Highway Code says that drivers should always leave a space of 1.5 meters or more when overtaking a bike. For a guide, this is roughly the width of a standard car door.

People who are seen breaking this rule could face a £100 fine and have three penalty points imposed.

2 Learner drivers can now use the motorways

It used to be the case that learner drivers were only allowed to use the motorways after they had passed both their theory and their practical driving exams.

Now however, learner drivers can take lessons on the motorway before they take their tests. This move was announced in 2018, and is intended to help drivers accustom quicker to the motorways, therefore improving safety and confidence overall for road users.

The new rules do state that each learner driver on the motorway must be accompanied by a qualified driving instructor however.

If you’re on the motorway and you spot a learner driver, make sure to keep a safe distance as they won’t be as confident or responsive as the other drivers on the road.

3 Strict regulations for smart motorways

Smart motorways are intended to decrease congestion — they use networks of cameras to monitor the traffic flow. There are more and more of them across the UK and they could be an important tool for the future.

On these roads, closed lanes marked by a red ‘X’ are totally off-limits to drivers, and the UK Government is now considering having penalties for motorists who break these rules.

The proposals include fines of up to £100 and three penalty points. When you see a closed lane on the motorway, there has normally been an accident or there might be a broken-down vehicle blocking the way. Pay attention to these signs to avoid getting caught up in an incident.

4 Road tax is going up

In the 2018 Budget, the Chancellor stated that he would raise Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for cars, vans and motorbikes after 1st April 2019.

This increase will add an extra £5 to most drivers’ road tax. However, drivers of cars that produce more pollution will need to expect an extra £15 on their tax bill. There will also be up £65 added on for new cars that are in their first year.

You should check the Government website to see exactly what this will cost you.

5 Changes to the MOT test

It’s worth noting that there were also changes made to the MOT test in May 2018. If you haven’t yet had to look these changes up, it’s advisable to do so now. That way, you won’t get caught out and fail the MOT.

More than one million vehicles have already failed their MOT test since the changes were introduced, according to numbers from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

More alterations could be on the way this year to crack down on cars with outstanding manufacturer recall notices. Keep on the look-out for any more changes and make sure to be prepared for them.

With all the changes and rising expenses for motorists, it’s important that your car insurance is a safety net and not another inflated cost. Make sure you’re getting the best deal by using a price comparison site like A Spokesman Said and checking what the options are. This can keep you safe on the road and keep some extra cash in your pocket.

Here at A Spokesman Said we love fighting for your rights and believe passionately in natural justice.

But these battles cost us money. You could help us fund these fights by using our price comparison site, A Spokesman Said for your energy, car insurance and household bills.

We’re just the same as Go Compare or any other price comparison site, so you won’t be losing out in any way - by helping us, you will be helping yourself.

Thank you for your support.

When did you last switch your car insurance provider?

Last year 65% of customers didn't switch their car insurance to try and get a better deal.