Anti-social drivers face immediate fines
We’ve all been in these common situations:
- The driver who sticks to the middle lane, no matter what, forcing other drivers to move across the near-side lane to the fast lane to get past them.
- The impatient tailgater, who practically drives up your exhaust pipe whether you are in the fast lane doing 75mph or in a queue of slower moving traffic that goes on for miles.
- The drivers who zoom past a long line of traffic in one lane to then force their way in higher up to beat the queue.
- The aggressive drivers who come out of a junction without giving way properly.
From July 2013, police will now be able to stop drivers guilty of these annoying habits, and those that drive over the speed limit, and give them a fine of up to £100 by the roadside as well as up to 3 points on their licence.
Why is this a big change?
Currently, drivers caught tailgating or having poor or aggressive driving discipline have to be stopped by police and then taken to court before they can be fined. This takes time, it’s a lot of trouble and it’s a drain on public money for the relatively small size of the fine.
The new measures have been brought in by the government to make it easier for police to act immediately to punish careless driving. They will also be able to offer people the chance of a lesser punishment if they agree to attend a remedial driving course.
On-the-spot fines are already possible for people caught using a mobile phone when driving. This extends the police powers to punish and also makes their presence on the roads more of a deterrent to drivers who have poor driving manners.
Brush up on your driving etiquette
Most of the driving behaviour that is considered careless driving can be avoided by thinking about other road users and the fact that they are people, not just cars.
- Always move across to the nearside lane when you have finished overtaking and the lane ahead is clear. Don’t force drivers coming up behind you to move over two lanes to overtake you.
- Watch your speed – and that means not dawdling along in the fast lane at 50mph. That would be considered careless driving just as much as a tailgater wanting to drive over the speed limit.
- Don’t tailgate – keep your distance. We are all in a rush but you are putting yourself at risk of a fatal accident if you drive at speed without leaving time to stop in an emergency,
- Be more patient. Don’t be tempted to overtake on the inside or cut people up by driving in the wrong lane at a roundabout or junction.
- Be more alert at junctions – if there is a stop or give way sign, you need to physically stop moving, even though you think it’s safe to pull out. Look and look again – a motorcyclist or someone on a pedal bike can be difficult to see with a quick glance.