New diesel tax charges, MOT changes & fines: The motoring laws being introduced from today

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From road tax to MOTs, there are several changes being made to motoring laws and regulations from today...

How many of these will affect you?

Road Tax

New rules on Road Tax were introduced in April 2017 - and this April will mark the first year many motorists will be charged the new flat rates for the second year onwards.

The second year standard rates are now:

£140 a year for petrol or diesel vehicles

£130 a year for alternative fuel vehicles (hybrids, bioethanol and LPG)

£0 a year for vehicles with zero CO2 emissions

New rules will mostly affect drivers of new diesel cars in a clampdown on emissions.

Diesel cars will be pushed up a band from April 1, if they fail to meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards in real-word testing. The rise for a Ford Fiesta could be as little as £20-30, but a Porsche Cayenne would be hit with a rise in the hundreds of pounds. The changes don't apply to commercial vans or vehicles, only cars.

Cars with emissions of 1-50 g/CO2/km will pay £10, those with emissions of 51-70 will pay £25, and so on up the brackets. At the top of the scale drivers will pay a whopping £2,000. Then, everyone will revert to the flat rate of £140 in the second year - many people who bought cars last year in the first year of the scheme will hit this bracket today onwards.

All cars that cost more than £40,000 outright will attract an extra premium fee of £310 for years two to six of ownership, regardless of emissions.

MOT changes

This year the government is changing the MOT test criteria, meaning hundreds of thousands of cars will no longer need one.

The move is aimed largely at classic and vintage cars, and will mean many existing vehicles will no longer need to take or pass the road worthiness test.

Critics have argued the move will increase the number of unsafe cars on the country's roads.

Here are the changes as put forward by breakdown cover service Green Flag:

Currently, owners of all cars registered after 1960 need to put their car through the annual MOT test. From May 2018, cars that are more than 40-years old (first registered in 1978) will no longer need an MOT certificate.

This will continue on a rolling basis meaning the following year it will be cars first registered in 1979 and so on. You will no longer need an MOT on classics like the early Austin Allegro.

Fines for using the hard shoulder on smart motorways

This is already in place - smart cameras can pick up anyone driving in the hard shoulder on a smart motorway when it's closed, and issue a £100 fine along with three penalty points on their license.

Learner drivers on the motorway

The date for this hasn't been announced yet, but at some point in 2018, learner drivers will be allowed on the motorway.

As long as they are supervised by a qualified instructor, learner drivers will be able to have lessons on the motorway.

The change was decided after research found very few drivers were taking motorway lessons after passing their test, meaning a lot of drivers were alone when hitting the motorway for the first time.