New tailgating and middle lane hogging penalties
The government are to introduce changes to give powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving to the police.
Careless drivers who put other road users at risk face on-the-spot penalties under new measures announced by the government today (5 June 2013).
Under the new rules, the police will now have powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving, giving them greater flexibility in dealing with less serious careless driving offences - such as tailgating or middle lane hogging - and freeing them from resource-intensive court processes. The fixed penalty will also enable the police to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement. Drivers will still be able to appeal any decision in court.
In addition, there will be a rise to £100 in existing fixed penalty levels for most motoring offences - including using a mobile phone at the wheel and not wearing a seatbelt - so as to bring them into line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties.
Road Safety 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.
The plans were welcomed by many motoring and police representatives.
Edmund King, AA President said:
It is worrying that 3 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.
Chief Constable Suzette Davenport 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.
There are no changes to penalty levels for parking offences.
Fixed penalty levels for most of these motoring offences have not increased since 2000, and are now lower than other penalties of a similar severity. In addition, raising the penalty levels for these offences offers an additional incentive for drivers to take up remedial courses which address poor driving behaviour in the longer term.
It is anticipated that the changes will come into force in July this year.