Highways England is trialling the use of new cameras to clamp down on tailgating, an offence it says is a factor in around one in eight casualties on England’s motorways and major A roads.
The cameras are designed to make drivers “aware of their behaviour” and have been trialled on the M1 in Northamptonshire since November 2020.
According to the RAC, the new system has recorded 26,000 tailgating offences in the first two months of the trial.
Motorists caught tailgating by the cameras can expect to receive letters advising them they were too close to another vehicle, highlighting the dangers of not leaving safe braking distances.
Jeremy Phillips, Highways England’s head of road safety, said: “These new cameras have, sadly, highlighted just how many people are driving too close on our roads.
“We understand that most tailgating is unintentional by drivers who are simply unaware they are dangerously invading someone else’s space. But not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle in front can be very frightening and intimidating – it could also prove fatal.
“We are trialling the new cameras to make drivers aware of their behaviour and encourage better driving.”
A survey carried out for Highways England also found that while more than a quarter of drivers admitted to tailgating, nearly nine in 10 people say they have either been tailgated or seen it.
Baroness Vere, roads minister, said: “When people think of the causes of road accidents, tailgating probably isn’t one of them, but it’s one that can have dangerous repercussions.
“Highways England’s innovative plans are already showing how serious and reckless this behaviour is, and through this campaign I hope we see tailgating drop, making our roads, already some of the safest in the world, safer still.”