Driving laws are changing in 2017
Posted: 1 Mar 2017
A lot is changing in the world of motoring in 2017.
From fines for using mobile phones behind the wheel to changes to the driving test, there is a lot for drivers to know.
Several new laws are being introduced this year with the aim of making the roads much safer.
However, some will also hit drivers in the pocket.
Here's our guide to what you need to know about the new laws.
Road tax is changing dramatically this year, with the new rules on Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) set to cost drivers much more.
As a result of the changes, the amount of tax that you'll have to pay will be based on your vehicle's emission levels and its list price.
If your motor is a zero-emissions vehicle, then there will be no tax to pay. For everyone else, things get a bit more complicated… and potentially, far more expensive.
Under the rules some new cars will cost significant more to tax with the VED rates ranging from zero to £2,000 in their first year and then a £140 flat rate in following years.
For a typical car that has emissions of 131g/km, it will be taxed at £200 instead of £130 at current rates, any vehicle with 151g/jkm emissions will be charged £500 instead of £180, a car with 171g/km will be charged £800 instead of £295 and those emitting 191g/km will be charged £1,200 instead of £490.
When is it changing? April
The driving test
It has remained the same for many years, but there are some big changes coming to the driving test in 2017.
There's good news if you hate reversing around a corner, as that will no longer form part of the test. Instead, learners will be asked to show how they can reverse out of a parking bay.
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Drivers will also be tested on their ability to use a sat-nav rather than driving by following road signs.
The independent driving section of the test will be doubled from 10 minutes to 20 minutes and there will be new questions on vehicle safety.
When is it changing? Later in 2017
Driving while using a mobile phone
Although the risks of using a phone while driving are well known, many people are still taking the risk.
The Government hopes to deter them by doubling the fine and penalty points given to drivers caught breaking the law.
From next month, offenders will be fined £200 and have six points added to their licence.
Humberside Police road safety officer PC Simon Carlisle said: "Not only will those caught get a £200 fixed penalty fine, but if they are caught twice and accrue 12 points they will automatically appear in court and face a fine of up to £1,000 and a driving ban of up to six months.
"One of the biggest changes is that new drivers could face having their licences revoked after the first offence, and to regain their licence must reapply for a provisional licence and may only drive as a learner until they pass further theory and practical tests. This process would run up a bill of over £100 on top of the £200 fine, so not only is it dangerous, it'll be a very expensive mistake to make."
When is it changing? March 1
From April, drivers who are taken to court for speeding could be fined up to 150 per cent of their weekly income as part of a crackdown to improve road safety.
The new fines will hit anyone caught speeding at more than 100mph on motorways as well as drivers caught speeding significantly above standard limits in villages, towns and cities.
Drivers caught at 41mph or more in a 20mph zone or more than 51 mph in a 30mph zone will fall under the new sentences. The penalty will be 150 per cent of the driver's weekly wage up to a limit of £1,000 on a road or £2,500 on a motorway.
According to the Sentencing Council, which has laid down the new penalties, sentencing guidelines "must be followed", unless a judge or magistrate feels it is not in the interests of justice to do so.
When is it changing? April 24
Child car seats
The law regarding booster seats for children changes on March 1.
Under new regulations, only children measuring more than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg will be able to travel in a car on a backless booster cushion.
This is because a backless car seat offers much less protection in the event of a collision.
Children must be in an appropriate child car seat until they are either 135cm in height or 12 years old.
After this they must then use an adult seatbelt, according to the new rules.
Under the new regulations, backless booster cushions available for sale will only be approved for children over 125cm and weighing more than 22kg and they will be clearly labelled as only suitable for children over that height and weight.
When is it changing? March 1
Causing death by dangerous driving
A consultation is under way proposing raising the maximum sentence to life in prison for drivers who kill people while speeding, racing or using a mobile phone.
The Ministry of Justice wants some drivers who cause fatal crashes to face life sentences, rather than the current maximum prison term of 14 years.
Ministers also want to create a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, with a maximum sentence of three years.
Gary Rae, campaigns director for road safety charity Brake, said: "This is a vindication of our efforts, and those of victims' families, calling for change through our Roads to Justice campaign. For too long, the justice system has treated them as second class citizens."
When is it changing? A consultation ends in February
Information taken from the Grimsby Telegraph