A crackdown on drivers who insist on hogging the middle lane of a motorway, jumping traffic lights, refusing to give way at junctions, speeding and indulging in a number of other anti-social behaviours will face new punishments.
Currently, such offence can only be prosecuted in court but come July, police will be able to issue roadside fines that range from £60 to £100 as well as dishing out penalty points to the worst offenders.
Traffic officers, guided by the Highway Code, will decide who is hogging the middle lane or tailgating the car in front. Police will likely offer those occasional offenders the opportunity to attend a driving awareness course – much like those currently offered to speeders – but repeat offenders could receive the full fine and penalty points on the licence.
Edmund King of the AA said middle-lane hogs, tailgaters and mobile phone users were the top three most hated types of driver in a poll of members.
But he said the bureaucratic difficulty and expense of securing convictions would mean only the most serious offenders would be targeted. “There has to be discretion,” he added. “If someone is driving for half a mile in the middle lane when the inside lane is clear, then it’s a clear case. Under this system it will be easy for a police car to stop you and give you a ticket.” The proposals were first outlined back in 2011 by the then Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond. Two years later, the policy is finally being implemented.
Stephen Glaister of the RAC Foundation told the Daily Mail: “Raising the fine level to £100 is justifiable to tackle the plague of handheld mobile phone use which slows drivers’ reaction times even more than being at the drink drive limit or taking cannabis. “The police need to target the large number of motorists continuing to flout the law daily.”