2017 has certainly been a year of change for UK drivers, with the introduction of many important traffic rules and regulations. Here is a summary of the new driving laws in 2017 which you need to be aware of to stay on the right side of the law and to avoid incurring any accidental fines or penalties.

The High Back Booster Seat Law

The rules and regulations regarding car seats are now quite complex and some may surprise you. Read on to avoid falling foul of the road rules 2017 changes and possibly facing a charge of £500.

On March 1st, 2017, the rules changed for child car seats. It is now illegal to have a child’s car seat fitted incorrectly. One of the most important aspects of this change is the fact that only children aged 12 or are 4ft 10 (125 cm) or weigh 22 kg are recommended as being suitable to use the backless booster seats. Children aged under 12 who are smaller than this height requirement must travel in a normal car seat or high backed booster when in a car.

Infants under the age of 15 months must use a rear-facing car seat.

All car seats must be EU approved and fitted according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Look out for the orange ‘approved label’ which should feature the code R129 and a letter ‘E’.

Driving Test Changes

From December 4, 2017, learner drivers will soon have to prove that they can competently use a sat nav. The length of the independent driving section of the test will also be extended to twenty minutes. The good news is that the legendarily tricky manoeuvre of ‘reversing around the corner’ is to be ditched in favour of more realistic day-to-day driving scenarios.

Excessive Speeding Fine Increase

From April 24, 2017, one of the most important traffic rules and regulations is the change to speeding fines. Drivers caught speeding can face fines as much as 175 percent of their weekly wage, although there is a cap of £1,000 for minor speeding offences and £2500 for major infractions of the speeding laws. A three-tier system (A, B, and C) will be used to determine the severity of the offence and the percentage of the crime.

In addition, speeding motorists could also receive between three and six penalty points and increased insurance costs.

Increased Mobile Phone Penalties

If you are caught using your phone whilst driving from March 1, 2017, you will now face six points and a £200 fine. If you’ve been driving for less than two years, the situation is even more serious as you will have your license immediately revoked. There is even the chance that mobile phone-using drivers could have their licences revoked if the case gets as far court. This could mean disqualification from driving and a £1000 fine. HGV drivers need to take these new rules particularly seriously as the fines are even more severe for them; with possible fines of up to £ 2,500 not to mention the loss of livelihood if disqualified.

Hands-free devices and sat navs are still permitted, as long as they are properly mounted in a holder. However, if road traffic police feel that using the device is affecting your driving, you could still be pulled over and penalised.

Car Tax Changes

Out of all these important traffic rules and regulations, one of the most significant changes is the fact that any vehicle registered new and taxed from April 2017 will have higher tax rates. This could affect millions of drivers. There is a huge incentive to use electric cars with zero emissions and costing under £40,000 as these vehicles are the only ones to be completely exempt from any kind of car tax. Hybrid cars that use a combination of petrol and electricity will be charged £10 less.

These are the new rates based on CO2 emissions for diesel and petrol cars:

0g/km – £0

1 – 50g/km – £10

51 – 75g/km – £25

76 – 90g/km – £100

91 – 100g/km -£120

101 – 110g/km – £140

111 – 130g/km – £160

131 – 150g/km -£200

151 – 170g/km -£500

171 – 190g/km – £800

191 – 225g/km -£1,200

226 – 255g/km – £1,700

Over 255g/km – £2,000