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
    +4

    Comment number 1286.

    I would love to see something done about tailgating. In my experience at least half of drivers get too close to the car in front.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 1285.

    Those who NEEDLESSLY sit in the middle lane are causing good drivers in the inside, and who are travelling faster then them, to have to move across ALL LANES. MOVE OVER when it is safe to do so, don't make the rest of us accommodate YOUR POOR DRIVING. No excuses, you know who you are.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1284.

    I'm a non-driver but often a passenger so I see what goes on.I agree with the majority of these fines,especially the mobile phone and tailgating.Exactly how are they going to enforce this,they can't have police cars/officers on every stretch of road as cameras won't pick up everything.This will be interesting but something does need to be done as there are some very dangerous drivers on the road.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1283.

    The standard of driving today, especially on motorways, is appalling. Anyone defending lane hogging or tailgating just simply don't understand the basics of motoring and driving and shouldn't be on the road. It's a shame this will be no different to phone usage, not enough enforcement to make a difference. We need more unmarked police vehicles to catch the offenders.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1282.

    No change in behavior on the M3 this morning! If only the police were there to enforce this existing rule, but I fear the only change will be a new breed of "swervers and flashers" who think they have to dart in and out of the inside lane. Pity the new powers don't include stopping the latest trend of sticking satnavs in front of driver's faces - I see this idiocy more and more recently.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 1281.

    It actually scares me how many people on this thread seem to think changing lanes is dangerous. If you have not managed to master that very basic skill, you have no place behind the wheel of a motor car.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1280.

    Most of the idiots cruising along at 70 mph are doing as little as 63mph because car manufacturers ensure they fit speedometers that are guaranteed to under read. You can always tell those drivers that have checked their speedometer's calibration, or are using a sat nav to check their speed, they're the drivers overtaking the idiots who are relying on their speedometers in an average speed zone.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1279.

    The proliferation of strict liability offences for the convenience of the justice system and to save the tax bills of higher-rate taxpayers is one of many short-cuts that we Plebs will just have to get used to.
    The more cheap labour we import to gratify the engorged gas-guzzler drivers in our society, the less we can afford the real civilised things in life.
    Expect many more compromises to come.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1278.

    RE KEN 1110
    The Police can make a decision on the evidence. However if you are not happy YOU can still go to the Magistrate and see if they agree with you. Cops are not the end decision makers you are very wrong. But if you behave when diving they don't stop you. I have been stopped once in over 30 years. They thought I was a burglar, it was late at night. Delayed for 5 minutes and off I went.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1277.

    Maybe if it was linked to a "Give way to someone pulling out from an inside lane rule" it might work. That is there would be no blocked-in penalty to keeping left.

    In practice most 3 lane roads are two overlapping roads, Commercials in lanes 1&2 Civil in lanes 2&3. That seperation aids safety. Wouldn't it be embarassing if the accident rate increased. which of course the minister would report?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1276.

    1222.Hazelwoc
    If you move in/out of lanes smoothly, indicating ahead (4 flashes min required for others to observe), cancelling indicators once fully in the new lane, pass by, indicate (4 flashes min again) then move left smoothly there's no 'sudden changes in speed and/or direction' to cause loss of control by you or any other road user.
    The HC has pictures that show this really well

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1275.

    278. johval

    Well, it'll be nice to see you fined for your selfishness and lack of road safety in future.

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 1274.

    I know the rules of the road are stay left unless overtaking. But on a 4 lane motorway assume lane 1 is used by a lorry travelling at 60, then lane 2 is a car overtaking at 65 then lane 3 is a car overtaking at 70 therefore lane 4 can only be used by cars travelling beyond the legal speed limit, I ask whats the point in lane 4?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1273.

    If all the cars travelled at the same speed there would be no problem with traffic jams (proven by M42 variable speed cameras). Lorries are restricted to 60mph and cars are supposed to be 70mph. If there were more average speed cameras (even set them at 80mph) there would be less congestion - end of

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 1272.

    Excellent news. Tail-gating, particularly by vans, is a huge problem.

  • rate this
    +58

    Comment number 1271.

    Finally! As someone who regularly uses the M1 at peak times, I think a lot of people will relate with the common problem:

    Overtaking lorries in the slow and middle lanes, and idiots in 4x4's coming up on the fast lane doing upwards of 90 mph, who refuse to let you out and then tailgate you whilst flashing the headlights.

    Muppets.

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 1270.

    If 1 in 3 does lane hogging ... there might be a reason for that.
    I have a feeling that for many people "lane hogging" was a much safer way of driving and from now on the number of accidents will go up quickly.
    I'd rather allow for "slow undertaking".

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 1269.

    @1222 Hazelwoc

    if you are changing lanes suddenly you prove my point about not being aware of what is going on around you. no lane change should need be sudden if you actually bother to look at what is going on ahead of you, behind you and around you. you should spot the need to change lanes long before you actually have to.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1268.

    As a regular user of our motorway system, travelling long distance, I find that during school holiday periods the standard of driving deteriorates dramatically.

    Drivers failing to be aware of their surroundings is probably the most potentially dangerous. Failing to look in their mirrors before changing lane, failing to indicate when moving in to an overtaking lane and middle lane hogging.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1267.

    Overtaking and pushing into a queue of traffic -
    Lane closures - Would people using the zipper method, requiring a shorter distance of backlog, get penalised?
    General - If a genuine mistake it would be nice to be the kind of society that lets people in, same for the roundabout one. I know some people abuse it, but we shouldn't change our society to account for them in my opinion.

 

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