Only a handful of motorists are being prosecuted each month for inconsiderate driving, according to new official figures.
Records from 17 of England's 43 police forces show that just 54 drivers were penalised for driving too close to the car in front since last August.
Prosecutions for middle lane hogging were even lower at 21, though only eight police forces were able to distinguish this offence from other cases of ‘poor lane discipline’, reports The Telegraph.
Prosecuting poor driving practices such as middle lane hogging and tailgating was made easier last year, with police now having the power to issue a roadside fixed-penalty notice of £100, along with three penalty points.
The changes came about to free police from the need to gather evidence to bring such cases to court, though the new figures appear to corroborate a Police Federation prediction that rules surrounding inconsiderate driving would be ‘unenforceable’.
This is largely because there is no official list of offences that define inconsiderate driving, but it is widely accepted that undertaking, lane hogging and eating and drinking at the wheel fall within this category.
On average, just three drivers per force area have been targeted for tailgating since the change in the law last year.
For middle lane hogging, the average number was lower, at less than three drivers receiving tickets.
Speaking to The Telegraph, AA president Edmund King blamed the low number of prosecutions on a lack of enforcement.
He said: “We don’t have as many cops in cars as we used to have, and whereas offences such as speeding can be picked up by a camera, there is no technology out there that can pick up tailgating or middle lane offences.
“These figures are disappointing since we know that tailgating in particular is a dangerous practice and happens all the time, but on the other hand we understand police forces have been cut and there aren’t as many patrols out there as there were ten years ago.”