At least 10,000 drivers have been issued with fines for motoring misdemeanours including tailgating, undertaking and driving in the middle lane when the inside lane is clear, figures revealed by The Times show. New powers were handed to police in August 2013, allowing them to punish drivers for examples of poor driving at the roadside.

Information obtained by The Times though a Freedom of Information request also show that these new laws have been used to fine drivers for a number of more unusual demonstrations of bad driving. One Cumbrian motorist was handed a fine after driving with a mattress on across the front passenger seat, which restricted their view of the road ahead. Meanwhile another driver was reprimanded for doing “paperwork on [the] steering wheel” while officers also punished a motorist in Norfolk who had been “distracted by acts of female passenger”.


Around 13,000 motorists were handed new fines between August 2013 and August 2014.

A large proportion of police forces are using the new powers, which give them the authority to hand out £100 on-the-spot fines and to issue three points on drivers’ licences for careless driving. Nearly 10,000 examples of careless driving were logged by officers from 35 of the 45 police forces between August 2013 and August 2014. This figure is likely to stand at around 13,000 with all 45 forces included.

However, while a number of police forces have been making good use of their new powers, a number of others have been declining to use these, with motoring groups consequently labelling the new system a “postcode lottery”.

Picture: Christian Muller

Chris Lloyd


March 9, 2015