This is a big story for us motorists to watch and it’s hard not to call it a good idea. Drivers who hog the middle-lane or tailgate other cars could face on-the-spot fines of £100 and three points on their licence under new plans unveiled today. Will this keep those aggressive rear-bumper-reps at bay and wake up those middle lane dreamers, and make our roads a safer place for everyone to enjoy?
Under these new plans, the traffic police are also expected to get powers to issue instant fixed penalty notices for not giving way at a junction or using the wrong lane at a roundabout, as well as dealing with the tailgating and poor lane discipline.
As a motorist who covers many thousands of miles in a year in my automotive journalism role, I think that if the police actually manages to enforce this little lot it’ll be three points and fines Armageddon out there! Driving standards are indeed sometimes shocking, but these new potential penalties are nearly useless if there are no roving police patrols to impose them.
Further details of this crackdown on anti-social motoring are due to be released by the Government in a statement to Parliament today and we’ll keep a close eye on what comes out next. But, so far, so good, as long as it’s enforced.
Transport minister Stephen Hammond told the Daily Telegraph: “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, these potential new rules will make it much easier for the police to punish offenders on the spot, without having to deal with all the paperwork of court proceedings etc. It’s a step in the right direction in my opinion, as tailgating and mobile phone use while driving are particularly dangerous, especially when it’s articulated lorry drivers doing it – something I see all too often.
The new legislation goes further too. Other proposals being tabled by the Government include increasing the fine for using a mobile phone while driving or not wearing a seat belt from £60 to £100, on top of the three points to go on the driving licence. Also, the enforceable fixed penalty for driving without insurance is expected to double to £200.
And with the potential increase in ‘convictions’ for using a mobile phone while driving, insurance companies could well expand their sometimes tough stance on the offence. The conviction code for mobile phone use is CU80, and a quick search on some motoring-related forums today revealed several motorists being refused insurance for carrying this endorsement on their driving licence. You have been warned – get a hands free, people.
By Dan Anslow