It’s something that most motorists have witnessed when on the motorway: drivers that hog the middle lane or tailgate. While most people just find this an annoyance the fact of the matter is that it is also extremely dangerous and cause traffic as well as accidents, which is why the government have announced new legislation that means careless drivers can be issued with a £100 fine and three points on their licence on the spot.
Discussing the new rules, Transport Minister Stephen 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.”
So far the new plans have been supported by a number of driving bodies such as the AA, where the president Edmund King said: “An increase in the standard motoring fixed penalty fine will help deter those who commit motoring offences including mobile phone use. 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.”
However, director of policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Neil Greig, was not sure the campaign would work and said: “This is a major change in traffic law enforcement and the IAM is concerned that issuing fixed penalty tickets for careless driving downplays the seriousness of the offence. Careless covers a wide range of poor to reckless driving behaviour that often merits further investigation. This could free up traffic police time and allow them to maintain a higher profile. But without traffic cops out on the road to enforce this new approach it will have little impact on road safety.”
Many drivers are also concerned that the new rules could lead them to gaining a number of points on their licences just for making mistakes, which could ultimately increase their car insurance premiums. However, at the same time it could make the roads safer, which means that there will be less accidents and long queues on motorways.