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
    +5

    Comment number 1546.

    How about tackling the issues of HGV's on Dual Carriageways (A1 & A19) overtaking for mile after mile at 1 mph faster than the other, holding up miles of motorists at 56mph?

    It drives me NUTS!

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1545.

    This will have an adverse effect on road safety.

    Traffic will be forced to over use the left hand lane.
    I move into the middle lane near junctions so as to let traffic entering the motorway to do so safely. I will now have to stay in the left hand lane, cause congestion and increase the risk of a collision.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1544.

    I seem to remember some years ago there was a cartoon advert about a road hog which told us we shouldn't switch from lane to lane, ie in and out of the left lane.....now we supposed to do the opposite....!!!!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1543.

    Pig ignorant! It is exactly the same idiotic driver who doesn't know the give way rules when joining a motorway/dualCW who uses driving in the overtaking lane as the reason to avoid the inside lane. The mind boggles as to how they passed their test in the first place. Up the fines, impose bans, these muppets who cannot follow a simple code by which the majority abide, deserve everything they get.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1542.

    How can we get into the correct lane at a roundabout in an unfamiliar town/city? The lead-in decisions have to be made before the arrows on the road can be seen,particularly in heavy traffic. And being in the wrong lane will now be an offence?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1541.

    @1495: They already can be brought up: Section 3 RTA 1988: Driving without consideration for other road users.
    Not indicating properly at roundabout causes flow of traffic to be disrupted as traffic is unnecessarily delayed.
    My commute has a 4 exit roundabout which most people give no indication on followed by a left turn only lane in which they do indicate! How do these indications benefit me?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1540.

    " johnboy99
    That doesn't happen to me, have you ever wondered why you are experiencing it?"

    Tailgating and exceeding the speed limit are breaking the law whatever any other road user may be doing. Flashing another road user without good reason (and using them to demand they give way to you is not a good reason) is in breach of the highway code.

    Clue - maybe you could adhere to the law.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1539.

    Stay at home.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1538.

    While we're at it, can we have numberplate recognition cameras sited along stretches where you are meant to keep 2 chevrons behind the vehicle in front? I am sick of keeping the proper distance only to see some idiot nip into the 'gap' in front; I pull back and another one nips in. Big fines, please; these fools are just not safe enough to be in charge of a vehicle!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1537.

    Not a straightforward issue. The highway code is, as usual, vague and ambiguous. Who decides it is safe to move to the left lane? The driver or an observer? Who decides it is time to overtake someone? The driver or an observer? To apply this rule fairly will take a lot of police time.
    I feel this is a minor problem, compared with motorway speeding, which the police have failed to prevent.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1536.

    1496.Sally
    It is exceeding the speed limit and if someone is in front of you travelling at the speed limit you have no legitimate complaint

    You are suggesting if you do 70mph in the outside lane but all other lanes are free it is fine when it blatantly isn't. Drive in the inner most lane if it is free and then you won;t have them racing behind you- they will just swap lanes and drive round!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1535.

    Driving up to 2000 mile a week on U.K. Motorways, this is long overdue.
    It would be nice to think the cash would be used to fund more Traffic Officers, to apprehend more of these wayward drivers.
    Visiting unfamiliar locations daily however, I am concerned as I often find I'm in the wrong lane due to poor signage and road markings, which could prove costly.
    But arrogant queue jumpers, yes please.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1534.

    Instead of more laws that the Police will probably not enforce, why don't we just concentrate on actually teaching people HOW to drive on Motorways.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1533.

    All very well, but where are the police to enforce these laws? The increase in the penalty for using a mobile phone is welcome, but how many people are ever caught?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1532.

    I don't often drive on a motorway but my impression is that if this is at all effective it will be impossible to cope with the number of fines issued as the problem of middle lane hogging is so endemic in the UK.

  • Comment number 1531.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1530.

    1511 Kanawha
    Drive in the left hand lane if it is clear ahead of you at whatever speed is appropriate. If you catch a slower vehicle, check your mirror, indicate you wish to pull and do so when it is safe. If it is then clear, pull in. If the inside lane if full of slower traffic, use the middle lane, anyone wishing to overtake you will use the outside lane and pull in when it is clear.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1529.

    i see this system can be open to massive abuse. for example the police are short on funds and lets face it they have been cut back on staff the past few years and the police cameras rake in millions a year. the pen pushing part of the police force wants their officers to be opportunistic about creating on the spot fines, with nothing to suggest beyond the word of an officer = more money from it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1528.

    It is good to see that most are for this and against lane hoggers, tailgaters, etc. Refreshing to see!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1527.

    It's high time, as I am fed up with tail-gaters, which for me seem to me mostly drivers of vans or Audi cars.

    My concern is whether there will be enough traffic police to enforce the rules, as it seems many have been replaced by use of cameras.

 

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