This year might not have unveiled the same raft of new motoring legislation as 2015, but there are still a number of new laws that might have slipped under British motorists’ radar.
Five new laws that may affect motorists in 2017
Here are four new laws that you might not be aware of…
Smoking in cars in Scotland
Motorists in England and Wales are already banned from smoking in a car containing children under the age of 18, and Scotland came into line with the same prohibition on Monday December 5, 2016.
Anyone caught smoking in their car in the presence of a child in Scotland now faces an on-the-spot fine of £100, a sum that could rise ten-fold if the matter ends up going to court.
Great reasons to give up smoking
Changes to roadside signs
There have been a number of changes to law on roadside signs, but the one that will have the greatest effect on most of us is the one that deals with the need to place ‘repeater’ speed limit signs at the side of the road.
The new law means that local authorities are free to make their own assessment as to how many speed limit signs are needed, a move that many believe will lead to a reduction in the number of repeater signs - the small signs that are posted within a speed limit to remind drivers of the current speed limit - in order to save money.
Many observers worry that this will lead to confusion as to what the speed limit is, increasing the likelihood of an accident occurring and/or a speeding fine being issued.
The Government says that the move merely gives local authorities the freedom to remove unnecessary and obsolete road signs, pointing out that the number of road signs increased by 83% to 4.57 million in England between 1993 and 2013.
What is that roadside thingamajig?
MOT testing qualifications
All MOT testers now have to have a formal qualification to confirm their competence to carry out an MOT on your car. Okay, this isn’t something that will directly affect most of us, but it is an important step towards making our roads safer and should reassure you that the man or woman charged with testing your car during its annual test knows what they’re doing!
All MOT testers will now have to have at least four years’ experience or a formal, relevant qualification before they are allowed to apply for the new qualification. Once enrolled, they will need to complete an approved training course and then pass MOT demonstration test in the presence of a DVSA examiner. Even that isn’t the end of the process, as they will need to continue to prove their skills with annual refresher training and assessments
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Traffic signs in Wales
All new traffic signs erected in Wales must feature the Welsh language first from 31st March 2016.
Bi-lingual signs have long been a roadside feature in Wales but local authorities had the power to decide which language to place first – and many chose English.
However, the new regulations read: “When you erect a new sign or renew a sign (including temporary signs) which conveys the same information in Welsh and in English, the Welsh language text must be positioned so that it is likely to be read first.”
See for yourself on a holiday to Wales!
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