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
    -1

    Comment number 1326.

    Yes there are not enough police on the roads. So how long before 'Traffic Officers' and PCSO's are given police powers to enforce these new laws?
    Police powers should be for trained, authorised and answerable Police Officers only.
    Maybe next we will have private security firms driving around pretending to be 'Police' - anything to save a few quid!!

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 1325.

    1287.john
    '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 you should, to let others behind you pass if they wish to.
    Do you have a problem with that?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1324.

    About time ...

    Moreover:
    I would say that handbrake turning is not a "careless action" but entirely deliberate

    But then the meaning of "careless" appears to havve been lost on most minds in the legislature

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1323.

    While we all want to want to clobber bad drivers with fines, jail etc. ("hang them by the roadside" was my favourite), they're all cures rather than prevention.

    Maybe people can take their heads out long enough to realise we need a system that educates, researches, consults and trains drivers, rather than the costly penal one. But as usual people like to get all worked up.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1322.

    The only thing more frustrating than middle lane hoggers is what I like to call 'Premature Indicators' - the people who indicate right, just as you are about to pass them. You have a split second to choose whether to slow down, speed up or move to the outside lane, it’s even worse when you have another car overtaking you at the same time. If the indicator pulls out it's an instant 3 car pile-up.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1321.

    "CladinBlack
    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."

    Then you're ideally placed to photograph or video such malfeasance and send the footage to the authorities.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1320.

    Can't understand the people saying that this would cause "Excessive Lane Changing" and "speeding up and slowing down". The amount of lane changing is what you should expect "keeping left unless overtaking", and the need to speed up or slow down means that you didn't need to overtake anyway, otherwise why would you need to speed up?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1319.

    Middle lane hogging is one of my pet peeves. Middle and outside lanes are for overtaking, they aren't so-called "fast lanes".

    If you're not overtaking someone there's no need to be in the middle or outside lane if the inside is free, regardless of the speed you're going.

    Glad that there's now a formal punishment for it, rather than me just giving drivers "evils", even though I secretly enjoy it.

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 1318.

    If you drive at 70 mph on a motorway, in whatever lane, can you ever be guilty of hogging? Anyone wanting to overtake will be breaking the law so what are you hogging? Nothing would be my view and any conviction must be very unlikely.
    Hogging law is as stupid as 70 mph limit on an empty motorway! I say de-restrict and simply police and prosecute careless/inconsiderate drivers.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1317.

    Just a note to the caravan lady. As the national speed limit for towing a caravan on a motorway is 60 mph it is highly unlikely that you should need to overtake and use the middle lane. It is only likely if you have to overtake a lorry or bus. Cars that are travelling in the middle lane should not slow down to let you overtake these vehicles because they are overtaking you.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1316.

    I hope this applies to the big trucks which try to outrun each other along the 30 miles of road - one doing 60mph in the left lane and other "overtaking" at 61mph in the middle lane. The smaller vehicles are often stucked in BOTH lanes!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1315.

    @1223: The "outdated HC" was last revised in 2007/printed 2013.
    I suggest you write to your MP to get the underlying Law (RTA 1988, Sect 3 - see Rule 144, third bullet point) changed before the next revision/printing due in 2018, because it seemed ok in 2007.
    What about those vehicles that can't use the outside lane (as you know from Rule 265) and want to overtake?

  • rate this
    -10

    Comment number 1314.

    I'd be surprised if the accident rates don't go up because of the middle lane fines. With more people changing lanes, you'll almost certainly increase accidents as the typically nervous, slower drivers that usually stick to one lane keep cutting in & out.

    Accidents will mean more motorway closures. Might be better with the current situation and a little more general lane discipline education...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1313.

    Will the Government be transparent about where the increased revenue will be going? To the treasury, or to improve roads (and safety?)

    Also, can we please have a rethink on increasing the motorway speed limit to 80mph? We have amongst the lowest speed limit in Europe created at a time when cars couldn't safely travel above 70mph

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1312.

    1263. BGA79

    How can maintaining 70 mph be unsafe when ... under-speeding or driving at greater than the recommended speed limit
    -----
    Because of the practicalities of the motorway. There are plenty of people who are going at speeds between 50 & 100. Using the lanes properly allows traffic to flow, minimising harsh breaking and undertaking. He's a bottle-neck - never good.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1311.

    Fantastic, now start enforcing fines on motorists who stop in ASL's.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1310.

    1299. Anon - If your livelihood depends on your car, then you shoud be mnore careful when you drive. The fact that you need it to make a living is not a defence that will stand up in court of you get stopped for careless or dangerous driving.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1309.

    Giving the police discretion over careless driving is a bad idea. With speeding and phone use, the offence is clear, but lane-hogging and roundabout manners? We will be at the whim of officers having a bad day, or bearing a grudge against women in expensive cars, or looking to fill an undocumented quota. There will be huge variations in how this law is applied.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1308.

    Tailgating is bullying, however dopey the driver in front is.
    Middle-lane-hogging is a different issue, often a function of our crowded motorways. You pull out to overtake, then can't or daren't get back in. No such problem in France - empty motorways, lane discipline is a doddle, plenty of time to see the Belgian driver hurtling along at 100mph and plenty of time (and room) to get out of his way.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1307.

    912.Denaris

    "...I will continue to drive however I like and do whatever I want in the roads ...I am the best judge of my abilities..."

    I suspect that your own judgement of your abilities is pretty good, but how many drivers' judgement is entirely deluded? Sitting in a box on wheels seems to give many the ability to instantly revert to infancy. Fond memories, perhaps of being in a pram...

 

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