Middle lane hogs and tailgaters to face on-the-spot fines
Drivers who hog the middle lane of the motorway or tailgate other drivers face quicker punishment under new measures announced by Road Safety minister, Stephen Hammond.
From next month, police will have greater flexibility to be able to issue drivers with fines and three points on the spot for careless driving offences that currently have to go to court.
Drivers will still be able to appeal any decision in court.
Existing fixed penalty levels for most motoring offences – including using a mobile phone while at the wheel and failing to wear a seatbelt – will rise to £100 to bring them in line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties.
Hammond 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.”
Research from Gocompare.com revealed the UK is a nation of “distracted drivers”, with more than 20 million (72%) admitting to multitasking while behind the wheel.
The survey found that a third of UK motorists have spoken on the phone without using a hands-free kit, and nearly a third (30%) admitted they have read a text message while driving – offences which, under the new measures will now land them with an increased fine of £100, as well as points on their licence.
It also seems that some Brits would literally be lost without their mobiles when on the road as almost a quarter of drivers (23%) confessed to using their smartphone for directions while behind the wheel.
Edmund King, president of the AA, 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.
“AA members broadly support an increase in the level of the fixed penalty. Our members also fully support educational training as an alternative to penalty points.
“We are also 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.”