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 1306.

    1289.Felindreman
    Often people will make an honest mistake on roundabouts through, for example, not understanding the 12 o clock rule. If there are several lane marked exits from a three lane roundabout onto a motorway, lane jumping is inevitable.

    The important thing is to be a defensive driver. In other words, to always anticipate what might go wrong and to be fully aware of other drivers.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1305.

    The problem with all these headline catching ideas, including the 20 mph limits is that there is simply no enforcement. There are too few motorway police patrols. They do not have time for lengthy following of offenders and as far as the 'middle lane' drivers are concerned, there ar so many excuses available - for instance I always try to move to the middle lane to help people joining motorways.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1304.

    It's the BMW's and Audi racing up people's behinds that should get dealt with...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1303.

    Quite a lot of plebeians tailgate, either out of ignorance or with the intention of pushing the car in front to go faster (often trying to get them to go over the speed limit). It will be good to see these people put in their place.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 1302.

    Lane 1 Lorries and caravans etc Limit 60mph
    Lane 2 Cars and Motorbikes Limit 70mph
    Lane 3 Cars Limit 80mph

    As everyone does 80 anyway, raise it but enforce it.
    Less lane changing will surely mean less danger.
    I don't want to drive in the slow lane with lorries but want to be able to do 70 without being tailgated by those doing 80 and 90.
    It really isn't that complex is it

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 1301.

    If all lanes of the motorway were used correctly, maximising the available motorway, we probably wouldn't need all the roadworks to build the additional lanes.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1300.

    In this area Nottingham there appears to be no "policing "of our roads ,law breaking on our roads is extremely common ,especially with van and taxi drivers ,these new laws are to be welcomed I just have no faith in our police to implement them .

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 1299.

    What is being overlooked are the fixed penalty points. These increase insurance costs dramatically (far more than the fine in many cases).

    Points also threaten livelihoods: how many people need a car for their job? Someone losing their job for being "inconsiderate" (not dangerous or careless) is seriously wrong.

    In short, there are issues with the proportionality of the punishment.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1298.

    Part of the problem on today's roads is that the disconnected between law and manners! The highway code states if there is a lane closure you should filter in car by car. That however doesn't mean you have to bomb down and dive in at the last minute. Courtesy and manners cost nothing, although driving today you would think it cost more than gold
    Re German brands. People drive cars...its everyone!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1297.

    I have to use the M6 Toll road quite a bit and because you need to pay to use it, it is fairly quiet with dozens of miles of empty lane 1. However, I see heaps of drivers join the road and instantly move to lane 2. Why do they do that? I'm sure there is at least one of you on this board at the moment. Could you explain please?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1296.

    1146. MrsDowntoEarth
    It should be compulsory that when the driving test is passed then there should be lessons on the use of the motorway. The problem is no one is taught how to drive on the motorway. Until this happens we will still have middle lane hoggers.

    Does that stand if you live on Skye? The nearest motorway is 200 miles away.
    They are our safest roads, even if some rarely use them.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1295.

    I stick to middle lane because I don't want anyone to accuse me of reading the guardian or the daily mail. I am an independent person.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1294.

    Lets hope this stops HGV drivers travelling at 55MPH from pulling into the middle lane to overtake another HGV travelling at 54.999* whilst travelling uphill. The manouver taking 3 miles and over 3 minutes to complete thereby creating large tailbacks and needless congestion and frustration.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1293.

    Why cant people who just sit in the middle lane realise they are turning a 3 or 4 lane motorway into a duel carriageway. It is ignorance on a staggering scale!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1292.

    @ 1258. The Hierophant

    Why would we need police on the roads when you're doing such a fine job driving up and down the motorways filming women on your dash cam?

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1291.

    Great news. Regardless of your take on this, a middle lane hogger creates danger. Drivers get stuck behind them and are forced to drive faster in the outside lane just to get by them. It is just plain selfishness, and as for the middle lane being the safest that may very well be, so its okay for those drivers to put their safety over others? Reality check every time you drive their is risk.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1290.

    £300 fine for no insurance? Still far cheaper than paying for insurance, so many people will risk it. How about a £3000 fine, and jail if you can't pay? That might actually stop people driving with no insurance, for which everyone else has to pay extra.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1289.

    What's the point. There are no police on hand to enforce these new rules anyway. Like the one on being in the wrong lane and pushing into a queue on a roundabout. How many police are around when this and queue jumping takes place?

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 1288.

    Is anyone getting the feeling it's time to close this HYS down due to serious repetitiveness? People saying the same things over and over with ever increasingly colourful language. Buffoons, idiots, crazy, morons. I wonder why such a relatively trivial subject matters so much. I've had so much varied advice today I've got a headache. Best stick to my cycle in future. O, hang on.................

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1287.

    1266 Roland Butter

    'How close is too close ?' Less than 2 seconds gap to the car in front.

    'If you are travelling at 70mph in the middle lane, there is gap of half a mile in the inside lane before the usual train of lorries, should you pull over for 25 seconds only to have to pull out again ?' Yes that's it. You've got it. Well done.

 

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