Revealed: New Driving Laws for 2017 & Beyond

by Adam Phillips - 3 Min Read

Learn about the new laws, rules and regulations being introduced over the next 12 months to make sure you stay on the right side of the law – and driving test success.

It’s a new year and there are several big changes coming down the road that will effect all aspects of motoring – from learning to drive to increasing road safety. Find out how the new laws will effect you and your motoring:

Crackdown on Mobile Phone Use While Driving in 2017

Using your phone while the behind the wheel reduces reaction times by nearly 50% – it’s why the government has already banned their use when driving but it now wants to go further. Much further.

Currently, if you are caught using a mobile while driving, you can expect three points on your licence and a £100 fine; the new law will see these penalties doubled with six points handed out and a fine of £200.

The new law is especially important for new drivers who currently only need to amass six points within their first two years of driving before their licences are revoked – under the new law, being caught using a mobile just once could mean having to sit the driving test again.

When? March 1st

Big Changes to the Driving Test in 2017

The practical driving test is set to change this year with a raft of revisions that’ll have a big impact on your test.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, the changes will include:

• increasing the test’s ‘independent driving’ section from 10 to 20 minutes so examiners can judge your driving ability more accurately in real world driving conditions.

• asking you to follow a sat nav’s directions during the ‘independent driving’ section to make the test more ‘modern’

• replacing the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ with manoeuvres such as driving into and reversing out of a parking bay to create more ‘real-life scenarios’ for examiners to assess your ability

• asking one of the two vehicle safety questions while you are driving such as asking you to use the rear-heated window so your multi-tasking skills can be judged.

Finally, there are also plans to allow learners on to motorways – click here for more details.

When? 2017 – date to be confirmed.


120 Hours of Driving Practise Before Test Can Be Taken

The government is considering the introduction a minimum of 120 hours behind the wheel before learners can take their driving test.

According to The Times newspaper, “ministers are considering a mandatory minimum learning period to prevent young motorists from taking to the road alone with little practice. At present they can sit the driving test as soon as they turn 17, and some pass with 20 hours’ experience or less”. Under the proposed system, hours can be accrued with both instructors and, say, a family member before being recorded in an official logbook.

When? Watch this space for further announcements.

Life in Prison For Causing Death by Dangerous Driving

To stamp down on deaths caused by dangerous driving, the government is considering proposals to send offenders to prison for life.

With average jail times of under four years for drivers causing death by dangerous/careless driving, campaigners have fought long and hard for punishments to be increased – and the government has listened.

Proposals have been put forward to increase the maximum of 14 years in prison up to a life sentence if you cause death while speeding, using a mobile or street racing for example.

When? Consultation ends in February.

Claiming he travelled from Leeds to Manchester in 11 minutes, the motorist posted pictures on Snapchat of his speedometer reaching 140mph on a motorway and running a red light at 82mph in a 30mph zone.”
BBC News on Addil Haroon, an uninsured driver with a provisional licence who killed Joseph Brown-Lartey after crashing into his car so hard that it split into two pieces; Haroon was only sentenced to six years in prison, triggering a huge public backlash.

Be a Better, Safer Driver

Use Theory Test Pro to make sure you know the rules of the road – sign up for free here.


Police Bike © West Midlands Police

Learner Driver © Wavebreakmedia/


  1. Kevin Brady

    120 Is ridiculous and many will not take a test as 120 hours @ £30 P/H = £3,600 as opposed to say 40 Hours = £1,200 a number of learners are looking for a cheap option which is not always the best. When the ADI is satisfied the learner is at a satisfactory standard the learner should then be allowed to book a test.

  2. Kadie

    Learning to drive is already very expensive, i’ve only just started and am struggling with funds despite working full time. 120 hours is ridiculous, i do not have a close family member to help me which means all of my practice hours would have to be paid for. This is going to stop people on low incomes from being able to get on the road, how is that fair?

    • Roy

      This is disgusting abuse of learners and another way of creating work. I had only 10 hrs driving lessons and passed 2nd time. My peers on same military driving course passed first time. Back in the 80’s we treated 18 year olds as adults now we treat 25 year olds as children.

    • Craig stud weatherill

      Not really just make more lessons over a longer time, I don’t agree with you’re either ready for a test or you’re not – no one can say how many lessons you need before your ready. 120 is a bit excessive – I’ve just done class 1 with only about 20 hours lessons.

      • Phil

        This is not fair, when you look at the background of learners this can determine how many lessons they may need. Take a farmers son, probably driving since the age of ten if not earlier ( I was driving a tractor on a farm at eleven ) he will have all the basic skills and could probably manoeuvre a trailer better than most caravaners, such a pupil will not need 120 hours.

        Also you can teach driving to a very high standard ( I am an advanced driver and pass those skills onto all my pupils ) It didn’t stop one of my pupils rolling his brand new Fiesta, even though his friend ( another pupil of mine ) warned him of taking bends too fast. The ” log book” could easily be “doctored”. One final thing, not many family members want to do it, nor can they afford the insurance. Time the government woke up to reality. They could of course remove the insurance tax for young drivers.

    • Dave Galloway

      What’s to stop the “Family Member” signing off hours that the pupils haven’t actually done? How would it be monitored?

      It’s a system that will be hard to police and monitor.

  3. Sean Reed

    I agree to learners being allowed on Motorways with an ADI but people who learned to drive on one of the UK’s many small Islands (Like me, who learned to drive on The Isle of Wight) don’t have easy access to Motorways. Those who do have easy access to them however should use them and if the law is passed allowing learners on Motorways they should be part of some test routes as well.

  4. Jenny Jones

    Rather than a minimum number of hours I believe it would be better to only allow tests in an ADIs car, all ADIs should be only taking people when they are ready (and we are monitored!), regardless of how many hours it takes you need to show a safe standard of driving.

    • Rich

      I agree in principle but as you know not all instructors are of good morale fibre. this could lead to them raking in money when those with a more safe and professional approach refuse to allow students on test yet.

  5. Simon Beecher

    Noone will go with an instructor for 120 hours …it would cost them a fortune so they will use mum or dad or a friend putting instructors out of pocket more. If anything an official progress report signed by an instructor should be the norm and more like 40 hours recorded before sitting a driving test. Regulated instructors should be official in this and not ignored! Rant over.

    • Mr Roy Jennings

      More driving experience before test is a good idea, and with the hours being able to be clocked up with both Driving Instructor and Private person such as Parent.
      I am just starting to teach my 18 yr old daughter, who wants to gain some experience before spending money on proper instructors. I think the Turn in the road, and Reversing around a corner is very much out dated.. And parking forwards and reverse into a marked parking bay, would be much better instead.
      There should also be an area created in every major city, where learners can go, both with instructors and privately to be away for the pressure of major traffic, so they can gain clutch and brake controls. Before being thrown to the wolves on main roads. In Southampton learners are more often than not put on main roads, and with poor clutch control, spend time stalling, kangerooing down the road. All of which hold up traffic in an already congested city.

      • Keith A

        Best practice is for qualified driving instructor to teach the learner from scratch, using time with parents etc to practice skills already taught. Teaching learners who’ve already been with parents etc generally involves undoing bad habits taught by them. This wastes time and costs money.

        This may not necessarily apply to you, but ADI had passed advanced driving test and teaching assessment as part of their training and are regularly assessed. Most parents etc have probably taken no training since taking their own tes and from my experience have not picked up a Highway Code since then. Looking at private cars with L plates on, virtually none have an extra mirror for the accompanying driver to use. That tells a lot about the skills, knowledge and attitude of the accompanying driver.

        I’d advise any parent etc to phone a few instructors during working hours. If any answer whilst they’re driving or in a lesson, then cross them off your list. An instructor who ‘does all the test routes’ also should be crossed off. Get a decent instructor. Talk with them about how they’ll delive r the lessons, sit in on some lessons, take advice on what to help with learner with. Get your own driving assessed, take a sample theory test to confirm you are good enough. Then of you go. Enjoy. And ensure the learner does some post test training well away from the local area, and on motorway and at night and on rural roads.

  6. Alistair Blease

    As a quire recently retired driving instructor with 26 years experience I find the new proposal of 120 more than a bit over the top.Most of my pupils had around 40 hrs behind the wheel although there were some who took to drivingIike a duck to water and passed with only with about 25 hour lessons.
    Motorway tuition should have been introduced years ago as common sense tells me it is an entirely different environment.I sometimes meet a pupil who I taught and they still have not been on a motorway after having a licence for years! The proposed change to the wanouvres would be welcome change as would the increase in time for the ” independent driving time” to twenty minutes so I am assuming the test time will have to be increased toaccomodate these changes.?

  7. Fadil Hyseni

    120 Hours is beyond any reach in today’s economic climate. The young ones will be forced to drive illegally as most wouldn’t be able to afford driving lessons at such scale. I’m a driving instructor and have learners passing their tests always between 25 and 45 hours of lessons. Motorway lessons are more than welcome to introduce. We are all witnesses of seeing drivers keeping middle lane or fast lane at wery slow speeds forcing others sometimes to undertake. I guess the reason very often is that they don’t know which lane shall be used to drive and which ones to overtake. Reverse bay parking is already a manoeuvre.

  8. Kenny marshall.

    Australia already have a lesson total of 100 hours (approx)..but as an Australian citizen told me…PARENTS SIGN off their lessons WITHOUT giving them the practical experience.and one lesson with parents equals 3 lessons to the total..system doesn’t work over there I believe

  9. Bradley

    120 hours…. That’s mad I am 23 and working full time I will not be able to afford that. Insurance is already sky high and your better off getting a taxi every (for my case anyway) maybe you should concentrate on the elderly that drive I no longer get in the car with the elderly due to there reaction time, poor vision and confusion. Your worried about the wrong generation you soon will drive all the younger groups off the road. The only way you’ll get on the road is if you have a rich background and supporting parents which I have neither.
    Rant over

  10. Priya Syeda Din

    120 hours is disgusting especially considering these economic times.

    I think this judgement is best left to ADIs rather than making it mandatory.

    I do welcome use of mobile phones penalty being increased as driver of many years it can potentially in pair your judgement subject to the conversation and call taking place.

    Motorway driving is also a good thing and belive it should have been introduced many moons ago.

    Furthermore the new changes if parking a car in a bay etc is frankly a wonderful idea however should have been introduced years ago. I don’t however think a turn in the road or etc should be scrapped. As a driver I still use those methods a great deal.

    Introduction of satnavs again is a great idea but would live to know whether the government will actually provide this tool to ADIs?
    If will be interesting to see the government’s response but I guess no surprises should they expect ADIs to fund…. now that would be dispicable should the make that decision. Only goes to show to planning or thought went into the detail.


  11. Regele

    Increasing the hours will result in more young drivers driving without a licence and no insurance – so if that’s what the government wants to do then the UK will turn into a war zone; more people are going to be in danger and the UK will collapse within a month.

  12. Marion

    I think the increased hours will increase the amount of bogus instructors in people agreeing to teach someone for much decreased payment but to general public/paperwork will be a family friend.

  13. Graham

    The 120 hour rule is open to abuse as a friend or family member over 21 with a full licence for 3 years or more could falsely sign the hours off and the process is not very Auditable.
    No matter how you change the test people will do what they need to get through the test process the problem is after the test there is no driving assessment required ever again unless an award by a court requires a re test or 6 points in two first two years, It’s a drivers attitude that needs looking at if they decide to drive badly or anti socially that can’t be challenged unless they caught by the police or speed camera, Cars have an MOT test once it reaches 3 years old a driver should have an assessment every 3 years to maintain standards. I believe every car should have telematics fitted then drivers will then have to abide by speed limits thus saving lives,

  14. Mick Bull

    120 hours.
    I am an ADI and I have not had a pupil take this long to pass in my 12 years in the profession.
    Parental tuition is part of this 120 hours, how will this be monitored?
    Parents wil just sign to say there child has had an amount of hours help to ensure they can go for test!
    35-45 hours is more practical and affordable!
    Instructors at this time will not put pupils to test unless they feel the pupil is ready to drive on their own…
    I always advise parents who teach their children/spouses that all learners should take a few lessons with an instructor to ensure they are safe on the road and ready for test…..
    A suggested minimum of 10 hours with an ADI would be more practical….
    Motorway driving is a great idea although I live and work on Lincolnshire, near the east coast, and we have no motorways within easy reach!
    Sat navs, good idea in practice, but what sat navs are going to be used, who is going to provide them and what happens if sat navs sends you the wrong way?
    Keep turn on the road, used all the time, reverse around corner can go, parking both ways is a great idea.

  15. Michael

    Every time I read the words it’s too expensive to pay for driving lesson really winds me up, just ask yourself two questions 1) how much do you spend on a night out ? 2) what price do you put on your life? Learning to drive is a life skill, get it right and sort out your priorities. No parent want to see their child in a coffin because they skimped on driving lessons

  16. Alan Watts

    I am an ADI with over 10 years experience and in that time I have never had a pupil who has the ability to drive need anywhere near 120 hours. On average depending on the pupil its between 30 to 40 hours. How you could record and audit private driving hours accurately, is a non starter and could be dangerous if given false information. Driving tuition and tests have changed over the years to reflect the driving conditions required in todays world.

    As an ADI our skills are audited with the new standards check which we have to pass to be able keep our job and be retested on a continual basis. So why not roll this out to the practical driving test and test the driver again 12 months after passing their test to check have they have retained a standard to be safe to themselves and other road users. In my opinion retesting is an answer to improving standards in driving. Leave it to the ADI to decide when a pupil is test ready.

  17. Greg

    Ok, so 120 hours, how long will that take a student doing 2 to 4 hours a week? What are the examiners going to do for the next 6 months while waiting for the first student to reach test?

    As for the sat nav, maybe learning to read a road sign would be the best bet, how many times does a sat nav fail, loose gps signal etc?

    I say leave it to the ADI’s to book tests on behalf of students, once they think the student is ready. I would say 9/10 times i have been right when i thought a student was ready to pass.

  18. Ben Graham

    Driving theory is a life skill – not just for test. Two questions at the end of the practical test carrying a driver fault each will encourage retaining of information.

    Practical test should be followed up with a two hour session within six months, then again one to two years with Fleet trainer.

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