New penalties to help tackle tailgating

Monday 24 Jun 2013 | By Gosh Media


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Under new measures announced recently by Road Safety Minister, Stephen Hammond, careless drivers face on-the-spot fixed penalty notices. The changes will give the police greater flexibility in dealing with less serious cases of careless driving - such as 'tailgating' or 'hogging' of the middle lane - without having to resort to the courts.

The fixed penalty will also enable officers to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement, although drivers will still be able to appeal any decision in court. In addition, existing fixed penalty levels for most motoring offences - including using a mobile while driving and failing to wear a seatbelt - will rise to £100, bringing them into line with those for similar non-motoring offences.

Careless driving 'a menace'

Mr 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."

Mobile use 'epidemic'

Commenting on the proposed changes, 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." He continued, "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."

Police get tough

Suzette Davenport, Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Police and ACPO Lead on Roads Policing said, "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. These measures should also act as a reminder to careless drivers that their behaviour will not be tolerated. 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 2001, for example, excess speed contributed to 213 deaths and using a mobile phone while driving contributed to 374 road casualties. The changes follow extensive public consultation with road safety groups and police forces around the country and the government aims to bring the new measures into force in July of this year.

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