2018 will be a year of change for many UK road users, with a raft of new legislation set to come into force.
From May 2018, vehicles constructed or first registered more than 40 years ago will be exempt from MOT testing, in a change which will affect an estimated 293,000 vehicles.
The move proved controversial in some quarters, with 56% of respondents to the Government’s consultation expressing safety concerns about the change in legislation.
However, the road safety minister Jesse Norman says the move will ensure a ‘proportionate approach to testing for older vehicles, which works for public safety and vehicle owners’.
Another change in the law means that later this year learner drivers will be allowed to have lessons on motorways – as long as they are accompanied by an approved driving instructor in a dual control car.
The Government hopes that the move will provide a broader range of ‘real life experiences’ and help better prepare learners for independent driving once they’ve passed the test.
Changing the focus to two-wheels, the first phase of a review into cycle safety is expected to be published in early 2018.
The review was commissioned in September 2017 following a series of high profile incidents involving cyclists and will look at, among other things, the case for creating a new offence equivalent to causing death or serious injury by careless or dangerous driving.
2018 promises to be a big year for the development of autonomous vehicles.
Driverless cars could be tested on UK roads for the first time – as a result of new regulations set out in the November 2017 budget.
Further to that, small convoys of ‘partially driverless lorries’ will undergo trials on British roads by the end of 2018.
The £8.1m ‘platooning’ trial will see up to three heavy goods vehicles travelling in convoy, with acceleration and braking controlled by the lead vehicle.
Finally, in a completely different application of technology, a digital version of the driving licence may be available for use this year, following an announcement by the DVLA in April 2017.