Driving law: changes coming in 2019

Posted on: 21 February 2019

In 2019 we see a number of laws from 2018 coming into force along with amendments to the Highway Code. Some of these include:

Civil Liability Act

The Act received Royal Assent in December 2018 and is, therefore, now law. The first part paves the way for whiplash reforms. Those reforms will be set out in separate regulations. The intention is that those regulations will provide a tariff of the levels of compensation payable for different severity of whiplash as well as increasing the small claims track limit for all injury types.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), more than 1,500 whiplash claims are made every day in the UK, which adds around £90 to the average motor insurance premium. Under the latest proposed tariff structure, the maximum fixed tariff for a whiplash injury, applicable to victims who have suffered for up to 24 months will be £3,725, although a discretionary 20% uplift in damages may be awarded in exceptional cases. Should the changes be made, the small claims limit for road traffic accidents will increase from £1,000 to £5,000, and other PI claims would double from £1,000 to £2,000.

Part 2 of the Act sets out the process for reviewing and adjusting the Ogden discount rate used to value future losses claimed as a consequence of serious injury. Royal Assent triggered the review period which must now be completed by 7 August 2019. We are hopeful it will more properly reflect the investment returned earned by claimants on their compensation payments.
  

Changes to car tax

Car tax is increasing for the majority of motorists from April this year as it rises in line with inflation. This means drivers may face an increase of anything from £5 to £65.  Only cars that produce 0g/km of CO2 emissions and cost under £40,000 are exempt from tax.
 

Changes to the Highway Code

Following new legislation in March 2019, the Highway Code has been updated to include new fines and points for dangerously overtaking cyclists. The new edition of the code states that drivers should leave a gap of 1.5 meters when overtaking a cyclist. If you are caught breaking the rule you could face a £100 fine and receive three penalty points.

The code has also been updated, detailing new MOT requirements which came into force in May 2018. There are new categories for cars; Dangerous, Major, Advisory, and Pass and drivers must be aware of new checks for, amongst other things, under-inflated tyres and contaminated brake fluid.