Driving law changes affecting new drivers

As new technologies and processes are introduced to keep road users safe, changes in the law are not far off. For new drivers, this can increase the pressure on them as they adjust to life behind the wheel. To help you, we'll go through these new changes and explain how they affect you and help you avoid hefty fines.

As new technologies and processes are introduced to keep road users safe, changes in the law are not far off. For new drivers, this can increase the pressure on them as they adjust to life behind the wheel. To help you, we'll go through these new changes and explain how they affect you and help you avoid hefty fines.

Tiered Licenses

The government is considering introducing a graded driver's license. Currently, new drivers - classified as those who have driven for less than two years - face tougher penalties for traffic offences, but the new system could place restrictions on new drivers.

The Road Safety Charity Brake recommends the Graduated Driver Licensing Scheme (GDL) as it “will be a vital, life-saving measure as young drivers in all countries are known to be at very high risk of serious and fatal accidents and the GDL is helping to address this.

“There are many reasons for this, including overconfidence among young drivers, lack of experience and willingness to take risks. GDL addresses this by providing a supervised learning period of minimal duration and reducing exposure to some of the highest risk situations, such as: night driving, limited to newly qualified drivers.”

Proposed restrictions under the GDL include:

  • Do not drive between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. unless you are supervised or driving directly from home to work or school
  • A lower or zero tolerance limit for alcohol consumption
  • Limiting the number of passengers a new driver can carry
  • Separate, lower speed limits
  • Mandatory P license plate
  • A second driving test after the new driver has driven for two years

A pilot project will be tested in Northern Ireland between 2019 and 2020 which, if successful, could lead to a rollout in England.

Changes in the Road Traffic Act

Rules 149, 150, 160 and 239 of the Highway Code have been updated to provide more detailed guidance on the safe use of remote parking and highway assist functions. These changes are working a consultation of the Ministry of Transport from 2016, which dealt with the use of advanced driver assistance and automated vehicle technologies while driving.

For 2019, the government a revision announced in the Highway Code to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe on the roads. The review will look at how road users should behave towards cyclists and pedestrians, with the overall aim of avoiding unnecessary accidents. The idea is to adopt the "Dutch Reach," a method of opening a car door with the hand furthest from the handle to force drivers to look over their shoulder to watch passing traffic recognize.

Changes could also result in motorists giving way to cyclists and pedestrians when making left turns - bringing the country more in line with America, where pedestrians have priority. In 2018, legislation was introduced that says drivers must be at least 1.5 meters away when overtaking a cyclist or face a £100 fine and three points on your driving licence.

If you drive too close to a cyclist, you risk a fine of 100 euros


Minister for Cycling and Walking Jesse Norman said: "Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, but we need to make them even safer for everyone - and particularly for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. These measures are part of a continuous improvement and reform process that aims to do just that.”

learners on the highway

Driving on the Autobahn can be a worry for motorists, meaning many drivers who pass their test would avoid using it; However, new rules allow learners to drive on freeways during class - as long as they are in the company of a qualified instructor and in a dual-drive car.

While not yet mandatory, it allows drivers to get a feel for the country's largest and busiest roads. To help you, here are some tips to get used to driving on the Autobahn:

When entering a freeway, you should always give way to vehicles already on the highway.

You should only overtake when it is safe and legal to do so. Never overtake on the left and switch back to the left lane, as occupying the middle lane is a punishable offense.

For most vehicles, the speed limit on the freeway is 70 miles per hour; However, speed limits may vary on sections of the intelligent highway. There are two types of speed signs on smart highways:

  • A speed limit in a red ring is mandatory
  • A speed limit surrounded by flashing amber lights is a warning

Intelligent motorways also allow you to drive on the hard shoulder under certain circumstances – this is clearly indicated on overhead signs. A red cross means that the hard shoulder may only be used in an emergency.

You should leave at least two seconds between you and the car in front.

Plan your journey so that you know the exit numbers to use when entering or exiting the motorway.

Give your car a complete overhaul, for example by checking tire pressure and oil level.

Changes in the TÜV test

MOT testing was changed on May 20, 2018, with new types of faults, stricter regulations for diesel car emissions, and some vehicles older than 40 years not requiring MOT. The changes affect passenger cars, vans, motorcycles and light passenger vehicles.

The new error categories are Dangerous, Major, and Minor, and are assigned to each error based on the type and severity of the problem. The following table shows what the new categories mean:


What it means

TÜV result


Imminent danger to road safety or the environment. The vehicle should not be driven until it has been repaired.



May affect road safety or have an impact on the environment. Immediate repair required.



No significant impact on road safety or the environment. Must be repaired as soon as possible.



The defect could become more serious in the future and should be monitored and corrected if necessary.



Article corresponds to the legal minimum standard.


Additional requirements added to TUV include:

  • Tires with insufficient air pressure
  • Contaminated brake fluid
  • Brake pad warning lights
  • Missing brake pads or discs
  • Reversing lights (for vehicles newer than September 2009)
  • Daytime running lights (for vehicles newer than March 2018)

Keep up to date with the latest driving law changes by checking out the Website gov.uk visit.