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Tailgaters and lane-hoggers face on-the-spot penalties in crackdown on careless drivers

By Kyle Linsay
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 10:58

Comments (8)
LaneHogging

HOGS: Crackdown on careless drivers

Tailgaters, mobile-phone users and lane-hoggers are set to face on-the-spot fixed penalty notices, under a government crackdown on careless drivers.

The changes, set to take effect in July, will punish motorists who put other drivers at risk, while helping free police officers from resource-intensive court processes.

Meanwhile, fixed penalty levels for most motoring offences – including using a mobile phone at the wheel and not wearing a seatbelt – will rise to £100.

This brings it in line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties.

Stephen Hammond MP, Road Safety Minister, said: “Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk.

“That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court.

“We are also increasing penalties for a range of driving offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences.”

The fixed careless driver penalty – £100 with three points – will see officers offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement.

Any decision can still be appealed, while serious offenders may face higher penalties as they can be summoned to court.

The changes, introduced following extensive public consultation with road safety groups and police forces, will not apply to parking offences.

Edmund King, President of the AA, said AA members broadly support an increase in the level of fixed penalty.

“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,” he said.

“It is worrying that three-quarters of drivers see others using mobile phones behind the wheel on some or most journeys.

“This epidemic of hand held mobile phone use while driving has already cost lives and our members have demanded action.

“An increase in the standard motoring fixed penalty fine will help deter those who commit motoring offences including mobile phone use.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, ACPO lead on roads policing, added the measures should act as a reminder to careless drivers that their behaviour will not be tolerated.

“The new penalties are absolutely necessary to deal with drivers who are putting people’s lives at risk and police will not hesitate to enforce them,” she said.

“The vast majority of drivers are law abiding, but some are still not getting the message.

“We said we would get tougher on those who make our roads dangerous and that is exactly what we have done.”

Endorsable road traffic offences contribute to a significant number of casualties.

In 2011, excess speed contributed to 213 deaths and using a mobile phone while driving contributed to 374 road casualties.

Image courtesy of Judin, with thanks.

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Comments

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  • Ian from Essex says...June 7, 2013 (07:01)

    I am a business owner and run a small fleet of cars and vans. We run drive aware courses once every six months to ensure all our drivers / staff act responsibly. This does not mean that we do not occasionally make minor mistakes, we are all human after all. I would class myself as a profeesional driver. I used to drive my car 50 to 60k a year and at all times from 04.00 until late night at times. Motorway speeds do not reflect the true capabilities of the modern car so I am afraid i often do speed on the motorway, as i expect about 70% of drivers do. Some people have mentioned the faster drivers who bear down on slower ones. I feel that if you are looking in your mirrors correctly that you will see these faster drivers (who could be police in marked or unmarked cars) and if appropiate move over. Many times in the morning going up the M11 I see lorries of all sizes in lane 1, that veer off on to the hard shoulder (sometimes whislt pouring out a coffee), others feel it their right to overtake the other large lorry they have been getting closer to at a half a mile an hour faster and then cause a domino effect of other vehicles in both lanes behind them, in some cases for 5 to 10 minutes whilst the manouver is completed. What i do find is that most proffessional drivers are curtious and will acknowledge other curtious drivers etc. All in all we all need to use the roads at whatever speeds we drive so my point is be aware of what is going on around you and not just the 50 feet in front of you. Rant over

  • Fred Macdonald says...June 6, 2013 (20:07)

    In response to Graham Beck I can only say that I have no problem with HGV driver, who, by and large, are the most professional drivers on the road. I am really peed off with the guys and gals who have their fast cars and want to go faster than everyone else.
    Graham, read my first reply again please.
    Regards, Fred

  • graham beck. says...June 6, 2013 (17:41)

    Hi.in defence of the hgv drivers on the motorways stated by fred mc donald.as a hgv driver(3000miles per week) the issue i come across eachday is motorists who drive at 45 to50 mph in the 1st and2nd lane and will not move over so we can get on to our time d delivery. The other type of car driver is the one who will race you into roadworks and then jump on his brake with his/her family in the car and dictate my speed limit. They need fining.points and educating about the braking distances 44,000kg trucks require to stop.they seem to think that if they get in front of you thats the end of it.ive seen this happen time and time again . The carnage a freighted truck causes is devestating not only to the family concerned and the nothing to do with me driver.but the goods vehicle driver.who will probably be on his/her own looking at this then they get intouch with the no win no fee merchants telling the family how many thousands of pounds they can claim.the hgv drivers career has just ended.

  • John Gouldsmith.MVO. says...June 6, 2013 (15:46)

    The problem of enforcing these enhanced offence’s is the enforcement issue. I am a retired Inspector from the Met. With many years traffic experience. Over the years Chief Officers of Police have reduced their traffic departments in a way that you very rarely see a patrolling traffic car let alone a motorcycle officer. To highlight this as a traffic PS (1981) I would parade for early turn on a regular basis 37 motorcyclists & 6 traffic cars covering Lambeth, Southwark & the West End. With the same for late turn. Nowadays you are lucky if you see a traffic motorcyclist. As well as enforcing traffic offences. It was also proved that they had a higher arrest rate than CID Officers, because Criminals use cars and get stopped for even a minor traffic offence. JG

  • Fred Macdonald says...June 6, 2013 (15:35)

    The people who are most dangerous on motorways are the speedsters who bear down on you even when you are doing the legal speed limit of 70 mph and you come up behind a person in your lane who is going slower than you and you wish to overtake. You can’t pull out to overtake due to the speedster who appears to be totally oblivious of the danger they present to other road users.

  • Mark Yates says...June 6, 2013 (14:46)

    Well said Chris, totally agree. the amount of articulated vehicles and 4 x 4 vehicles that try and bully you to go faster or change lane even if you are overtaking is crazy.. and as for phone users well, what can i say. it costs what £20 for a hand set.. cost of a life? priceless..

  • Chris S says...June 6, 2013 (13:34)

    It is brilliant news, but i think the police and authorities need to concentrate on Lane Discipline, Lack of Indication and basic road awareness first this would reduce 50 % of the traffic jams seen regularly in the UK. I am struggling to work out why people feel the need to use hand helds on the road with the amount of safe bluetooth options on the market now.

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