As of last week (16th August) the police now have the power to issue fixed penalty notices of £100, as well as 3 points, to motorists guilty of two cardinal motorway sins – tailgating and middle-lane hogging.
These careless and inconsiderate driving habits cause frustration and anger up and down Britain’s roads, with Tailgaters a particular menace, intimidating other road users and dramatically reducing their stopping distance, thus increasing the likelihood of an accident significantly.
As for middle lane hogging, is it really as dangerous as failing to wear a seatbelt, using a mobile phone or tailgating?
Slowing Down the Flow of Traffic
In theory at least, staying in one lane and not diverting from it doesn’t sound like it would be very dangerous – after all you’re not going to be cutting up fellow drivers or travel any faster than the car in front.
However, by staying in the middle lane you could be causing major disruption to the entire motorway behind you without ever noticing.
As under-taking is illegal, by remaining in the middle lane you are effectively reducing the number of lanes available and slowing down the flow of traffic significantly, causing the congestion that is so often the cause of accidents. As a middle lane hog you don’t have to be involved in an incident yourself to be the cause of one.
Difficult to Interpret?
One criticism of the law changes however is that it could be difficult to know how long is too long when it comes to staying in the middle lane. Tailgating, using a mobile phone or not wearing a seatbelt are all easy to identify and avoid, however the lack of clarity over when you should move over after overtaking another vehicle – especially if there is another slow moving vehicle or busy slip road up ahead – could lead to motorists unsure of what exactly it is they need to do to avoid a possible £100 penalty.
“It will be essential to introduce and publicise a clear definition of the sorts of ‘careless driving’ that may result in the police issuing a fixed penalty notice, and the reasons why they are being made a fixed penalty offence,” said Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
“In addition to clear guidance, RoSPA believes that training for police officers in the use of this new power, and a robust monitoring system, will be needed to ensure consistency in the application of fixed penalties for careless driving.”
Here at Insure Daily we can offer short term car insurance – even if you’ve picked up some points for careless driving. To find out more about the terms of cover browse our website, alternatively, click here to receive a free quote.