Of the 5,472 motorists prosecuted in the UK for inconsiderate driving since the introduction of greater police powers last August, a whopping 26.5 per cent were caught on Scottish roads according to a Freedom of Information request by Auto Express magazine.
A total of 1,454 Scottish drivers have been caught for a range of anti-social driving behaviour, including tailgating and middle lane hogging, in the seven months since the new laws were put in place – the largest number in any of the UK’s 45 police force areas.
The new rules, which have been designed to cut accident rates and raise driving standards, have been welcomed by motoring safety groups as a way of improving safety and easing congestion on the UK’s heavily used transport links.
However, drivers caught out are unlikely to have a similar outlook, as they face a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points, which can be avoided by successfully completing a safer driving course.
Amongst the plethora of inconsiderate behavior covered by the legislation, drivers can also be penalised for failing to give way at a junction and pushing into traffic queues. Such offences had largely gone unpunished due to the previous problems of collecting sufficient evidence to take a case to court.
Now, however, an officer can issue an immediate fine for anyone observed driving in an inconsiderate manner.
Following closely behind Scotland in the inconsiderate driver tables was Nottinghamshire, which saw 977 people prosecuted, despite having a relatively low number of drivers compared to other force areas.
“Since Police Scotland were formed, they have issued a lot more traffic-related tickets, so Scottish motorists should be aware by now that there’s been a big push on enforcement,” said Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists to The Scotsman.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The encouraging thing is that this new law is being used by police. The long-term test is whether accident rates fall.”