There are a lot of changes to motoring laws, rules and regulations set for 2017 that will affect every driver in the UK. We’ve listed some of the biggest changes due this year below…
Penalties for using a mobile phone while driving to increase
It cannot be stressed enough that you should NOT use your mobile phone in any way while in control of a motor vehicle. The current punishment for drivers caught using their phone while driving is an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points (this can be increased in the case of an accident). These penalties are set to be DOUBLED in 2017 so that you will get a fine of £200 and SIX PENALTY POINTS on your licence if you are caught using your phone while driving.
The new rules could mean that some drivers – particularly new and young drivers – could be banned from driving immediately if caught using their phones.
When? New penalties come into force on 1 March
Changes to child seat regulations
The way in which child car seats are approved for use are changing this year as new EU guidelines come into force. The changes will mean that backless booster seats will now only be approved for children over 125cm in height or 22kg in weight (typical six year old). As this law impacts manufacturers of child car seats rather than consumers, you will not be breaking any laws if you continue to use an existing booster seat.
The new guidelines are intended to improve safety as backless booster seats offer a lot less protection in a collision.
When? New car seat regulations begin 1 March
Insurance renewal notice requirements
In what will probably be a welcome change for motorists, car insurers will soon be required to include the details of your previous year’s premium on their renewal notices.
This means you will be able to clearly see what changes have been made to the cost of your car insurance cover, and make a more informed decision on whether to look for a better deal elsewhere rather than renewing automatically.
When? Renewal notices will include last year’s premiums from 1 April, although some insurers already include this information
New road tax rules
A completely new and revamped system for car or road tax (officially known as Vehicle Excise Duty) is coming into force for all new cars registered on or after 1 April 2017.
The new road tax system will see drivers having to pay a one-off tax for the first year of the new car’s life based on its emissions. This initial charge will range from £10 for the more efficient and green cars all the way up to £2,000 for the less efficient gas-guzzlers. Following the first year the road tax will be charged at a flat rate of £140 for petrol and diesel cars and £130 for alternative fuel cars (hybrids mostly). Zero-emissions vehicles will be exempt.
The new car tax system is designed to make sure that vehicles that pollute the most are more heavily taxed than others. Find out more: Car tax changes 2017 – will they make a difference?
When? The new car tax bands come into effect for cars registered on or after 1 April
Speeding fines are going up
Similarly to the increase in penalties for using a phone while driving, those committing the most serious speeding offences will face more severe fines under the new sentencing rules due to come into effect in 2017.
The current fine for drivers that far exceed the speed limit is capped at 100% of their weekly salary. However, this is due to be increased to 150% of their weekly salary.
When? The new speeding fine cap will start on 24 April
Insurance Premium Tax to increase
The rate of Insurance premium tax (IPT) charged on car insurance policies is set to rise again later this year. Insurance Premium Tax is charged as a percentage of insurance premiums across most general insurance products, including car, home, travel, pet and private medical insurance.
Currently the Insurance Premium Tax rate is 10%, but will rise to 12% in June this year, which is expected to be passed onto motorists in the form of higher premium costs.
When? The rate of Insurance Premium Tax will increase to 12% on 1 June
Driving lessons and tests set for an upgrade
After several trials across the country and consultations, the practical driving test is set for a bit of a revamp later on this year. One of the biggest changes will be the introduction of voluntary motorway driver lessons for learners, who are currently not allowed to drive on motorways with just a provisional licence. This is set to be changed in 2017 so driving students will be able to book driving lessons on motorways with an approved driving instructor.
The dreaded practical driving test is also set to be changed, with the independent driving section to include following instructions from a Sat Nav. Drivers will also be expected to answer ‘show me, tell me’ questions while driving during the test.
As well as that, two of the four compulsory driving manoeuvres all drivers must learn – reversing around a corner and turn in the road – are set to be replaced with more ‘realistic’ manoeuvres which are to be announced later this year.
When? Final decision expected later this year