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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Comments

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  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1566.

    In North America you can 'pass' on the inside on a multi-lane freeway. I lived in Texas for while and never saw any problems resulting from this, even though the local driving test is a lot less rigorous than ours.

    Therefore no-on can hog a lane, so why couldn't we do the same here?

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 1565.

    The "middle lane" issue is just a smoke screen to cover the fine rises from £60 to £100 to fill the black hole in the police final salary pension fund.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1564.

    @1540. Sally
    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
    -
    That's correct Sally, so you HAVE read the Highway Code. Well done
    I don't drive in the way you describe nor hog the lanes, sorry.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1563.

    Well, reading these comments, I feel there will be an increase in accidents because of these laws, because there are a lot of areas of uncertainty (which people have mentioned on here), and so drivers will worrying about these judgements while driving.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1562.

    It'll never work, the volume of traffic and the lack of police on the roads means trying to identify one culprit amongst many is going to be a waste of police time and where will they provide the on the spot fine when parts of motorways use the hard should as an extra lane now? People need to pay more attention, use a bit of common sense, and the use of mirrors and indicators would be nice too.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1561.

    @1524 Heres Hoping. You do know that the reason lorries take so long to overtake each other is because they have all been limited to the same speed dont you? Don't blame them for that, blame the idiot who thought it would be a good idea to give all lorries a +/- 1mph speed limitation.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1560.

    @1521 has just shown the mentality of an audi/bmw driver....'pull over and get out of my way because I am more important than you and it shows in the cars we drive'. what an arrogant a***!

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 1559.

    If you think changing lane is a difficult and dangerous manoeuvre, perhaps you should avoid the motorway.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1558.

    About time.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1557.

    1545.Danny McKeown
    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.

    Of course not. As I pass a junction it's not difficult to glance left/use mirrors to see joining traffic and moving over to let them in isn't "hogging" the lane.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1556.

    1510.Hobbie
    I do not understand the bit about " being in the wrong line and pushing into a queue at a roundabout" If you do not know the road, and your sat nav does not tell you which lane, this is a common difficulty
    ==
    You are relying on your SATNAV to tell you how to cope with a roundabout???? Good lord! In our house we call SatNavs PrattNavs...and you comment has just explained why!!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1555.

    Any one fessed to being an iffy driver yet?

    This is not a confession.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1554.

    I have to say there is a lot of HGV bashing ... which is very right and they deserve it but let us not forget the other highway clutter.... Caravans!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1553.

    " Vboulderer
    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"

    No I didn't. Where did I say that?

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1552.

    People driving only in the middle lane often believe they are being safe. Actually, doing this subverts the purpose of the lane system, is dangerous and can cause accidents. The middle and outer lanes are for overtaking only. They need to learn how to drive on motorways properly. Many driving schools offer helpful motorway induction courses which may help them if they are struggling.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1551.

    @ 128.davemanchester
    'If you are doing the speed limit 70mph in the middle lane, steadily, is that classed as hogging the middle lane?'
    ---

    There's nothing wrong with briefly going up to 75 to finish the maneuver and pull back in.
    It's good and safe driving because you've got a hard shoulder again then.

    -

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1550.

    1501.Bobstar
    11 Minutes ago
    Where is the actual definition of what the threshold for the crime is? How close is too close to the car in front?

    Two second rule? isnt this common sence?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1549.

    This could lead to a double whammy, the front driver hogging an outside lane, and the rear intimidating driver, usually saleman in an Audi.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1548.

    Great, finally some common sense. Let's hope that the 'Enforcers' also show some as well. But I would like to see some clarification around "stopping on the hard shoulder", what are we not allowed to do that now...

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1547.

    So will I be able to submit footage from my Dash-camera to the police to punish the atrocious drivers I gain footage of every single day?

 

Page 13 of 91

 

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