Lane hogging and tailgating on-the-spot fines in force

 

Transport Minister Stephen Hammond says there will be "substantial savings in court courts"

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Careless drivers across Britain who hog lanes or tailgate can now be punished with on-the-spot police fines.

Under the new measures, officers can issue £100 fines and three points rather than taking drivers to court.

Ministers said it would make tackling problem motorists easier. The AA said a third of drivers risked facing a fine.

Fixed penalties for a number of offences, including using a phone or not wearing a seatbelt while driving, have also risen from £60 to £100.

More serious driving offences will still go through the courts and could result in much higher fines and penalties.

'Lives at risk'

But people caught carrying out offences subject to the new penalties, which were first announced in June, will be able to choose between an on-the-spot fine or the chance to go on a driving course.

The move, which does not apply in Northern Ireland, brings careless or inconsiderate driving offences into line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties. Drivers can still appeal against any decision through the courts.

Among the offences police are expected to focus on are:

• Driving too close to the vehicle in front

• Failing to give way at a junction (not requiring evasive action by another driver)

• Overtaking and pushing into a queue of traffic

• Being in the wrong lane and pushing into a queue on a roundabout

• Lane discipline, such as needlessly hogging the middle or outside lanes

• Inappropriate speed

• Wheel-spins, handbrake turns and other careless manoeuvres

Many such offences currently go unpunished because of the bureaucracy involved in taking a case to court.

Not only does a motorist have to be stopped by the police, but a summons has to be issued and evidence presented in court.

Road safety minister Stephen Hammond told BBC Breakfast that the fines had been increased to "reflect the severity and the seriousness of offences".

He added: "I think it's the right level to choose, and I'm convinced that it will be a deterrent for a number of people."

'Numbers game'

The AA said responsible drivers would welcome the changes but added that a survey of 20,000 motorists suggested one in three could be caught out hogging the middle lane.

Analysis

It's worth bearing in mind that this isn't a new offence, it is just another way of dealing with the current offence of "careless driving".

In the past, the police might have just given you a verbal warning - or in extreme cases taken you to court. Now they can do something in the middle. Give you a fine, and maybe points.

I am told that the police are expected to focus on situations involving slightly aggressive and inconsiderate driving.

We'll just have to wait and see how many fines get handed out and for exactly what kind of offence.

"We are pleased to see that at long last new powers and fines will be given to the police to tackle the top three pet hates of drivers - tailgaters, mobile phone abusers and middle-lane hogs," said AA president Edmund King.

The vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Steve White, said the group was "broadly supportive" of the new fines.

He said: "In theory this is a positive initiative. In practice this will wholly rely on having an adequately resourced police service to enforce.

"Officer numbers are at an all-time low, the number of traffic officers alone has reduced from 7,000 to approximately 3,500."

Road safety charities welcomed the government's attempt to crack down on careless driving but expressed concerns about the way the fines would be implemented.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said a "robust monitoring system" was needed to enforce the changes, with more training on the new powers needed for police officers.

Brake said that while it backed the introduction of fixed penalties, the level of fines should be increased to between £500 and £1,000 so they were "high enough to deter all bad drivers".

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) said driver retraining courses would be more effective at improving driving than just issuing thousands of fines.

Which existing fines are going up?

Offences include Was Now

Source: Department of Transport

Non-endorsable fixed penalty notice (where the driver does not receive points on their licence)

Failing to give way, obscuring registration number, stopping on the hard shoulder, misuse of headlights, sounding horn at night

£30

£50

Endorsable fixed penalty notice (points issued)

Using a mobile while driving, speeding, reversing on a motorway, not stopping at a red light

£60

£100

Non-endorsable fixed penalty notice

Failure to display tax disc, not wearing a seat belt when driving, driving without an MoT certificate

£60

£100

Endorsable fixed penalty notice offence

Failure to identify driver

£120

£200

Endorsable fixed penalty notice offence

Driving without third party insurance

£200

£300

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1806.

    Re editors choice: 1566.boads22

    There's only one thing we need to adopt from America and that's turning left on a red light. Our motorway system works better and is much safer than the American one IF people obey the rules and drive sensibly.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1805.

    Given advances in vehicle technology it seems only fair to me that whilst the government brings in punitive fines for poor and selfish driving they also seriously reconsider the minimum speed limits on motorways and dual carriageways.

    70mph may have been recklessly fast in a 1967 ford cortina mk2 but things have significantly improved since then.

    Is it to much to want to be treated like an adult

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1804.

    It is so so irritating to go along a half empty motorway and find some nerd sitting in the middle lane all the way. It is just good motorway practice to keep over to the left unless over taking. Yes the inside lane is often choc-a-bloc with lorries but it is still possibly to drive sensibly and keep over left as much as possible.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1803.

    "Another opportunity for the government to give more privileges to their rich friends. Fixed penalty fines are unjust and unfair. Fines should be based on a percentage of disposable income. What's a £100 to a banker? but it could lead Mr/Ms average in dire straights."
    - But bear in mind the rich earn much more and the time they waste bribing the police will cost them much more!

  • Comment number 1802.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1801.

    My Met Police boyfriend told me they're not interested in anyone speeding less than 10% + 2, ie 70mph + 7 + 2 = 79mph, or 30mph + 3 +2 =35mph

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1800.

    1779.justin de shed
    The so-called "BMW lane" is for slowing moving queues and emergency vehicles. It should be kept clear.

    If YOU exceed the speed limit, especially over 80 - unless it is a medical emergency - you are NOT fit to hold a license. It's always the people who think they are the best drivers who are actually the most dangerous. These people have stopped learning.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1799.

    1785.
    born cynic
    6 Minutes ago
    Spot on Mr X traffic cop
    oh come back please!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1798.

    #17 Muddler. Hear, hear! I now live in Germany where lane discipline is awesome compared to the free-for-all and selfishness on UK roads. Here, everyone moves to the left after overtaking and - this I REALLY like - trucks are mostly not allowed on Sundays! It all works very well and, I suspect, maximizes usage of the road space available.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1797.

    I think tailgaiting is by far the most dangerous of these - completely unjustifiable and leaves no room for error. A small lapse of concentration or mistake and people lose their lives. It is not comparable to inconsiderate things like cheeky pushing in or annoying middle lane hogging. A fine is totally insufficient punishment for tailgating, it should go to court, 9pts and dangerous driving.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1796.

    1673.HilaryJ

    its actually very easy Hilary - just take your foot off the accellerator.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1795.

    Rule #1 of motorwars: pull out, push on, get in. That's what my Dad taught me on my first motorway lesson. Only stay out if you are keeping up with the car in front. Simples.

    Don't tail gate or lane hog, fine I think this would work for me...I only 'interact' with other drivers when they lane hog anyway.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1794.

    1781.Tchernobog
    Anyone driving faster than 77 mph - allowing for the 10% - is a dangerous driver and should not hold a license.
    -------------
    No. Anyone driving over the speed limit is speeding. They aren't necessarily a dangerous driver (the emergency services wouldn't do it if it was dangerous).

    Come on people - get in the real world and be honest about what speed we do on the motorways!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1793.

    1762.bobby
    Or much more likely "the government prefers to scam more money out of easy target motorists instead of dealing with proper crime

    So is breaking the law by lane hogging not a proper crime? If it wasn't illegal they wouldn't be able to fine you. I loathe the Tories but am not so set in my ways to not aplaud them when they make sensible policies that benefit the majority.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1792.

    Tailgaters should face much higher fines along with loss of points and possible imprisonment as this not only causes fear to other drivers but does lead to accidents.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1791.

    What about the HGV driver who decides to take on 2 or 3 similar vehicles, stuck in the middle lane for 8 - 10 Kim's. What about the HGV driver sitting in the middle lane of three, during road works where the lanes are narrow, exceeding the speed limit. How is the police going to sort?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1790.

    Whilst we're bringing in legislation to cover lane hogging and tailgating etc., could we also bring in a law to force manufacturers of BMW and Audi cars to fit direction indicators on their vehicles.....they obviously haven't done so so far!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1789.

    1760.chrisk50
    If you are doing 70 in the middle lane nobody except an emergency vehicle can legally overtake you, so who will be breaking the highway code?

    Both! One's selfish, inconsiderate and dangerous, how dangerous the other is depends on conditions. Ever heard 2 wrongs don't make a right?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1788.

    It's so much fun reading this HYS.
    It's like driving through a 30mph at 30mph watching the guy behind crawling onto his dashboard in frustration that you won't let him go 60.

    Don't do the crime, you won't pay a dime! :-)

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1787.

    1753.rr6
    ...Let's hope that lorries are targeted by this new regulation and force their owners into better driving policies.
    --
    Yep, I couldn't agree more. Can we move on to 'swoopers' at exit sliproads now please?

 

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