New rules are coming into place with the aim of making it easier for police to catch and prosecute motorists for ‘careless driving’. Additionally we are going to see the first increases in fines for minor driving offences since the year 2000, which will include significant hikes in the fines for offences like driving without insurance, using a mobile device whilst driving, tailgating and failing to wear a seatbelt. Middle lane hoggers are also set to be punished with an easily implemented £100 fine for the first time.
Middle lane hoggers have been the bane of many motorists life on the motorway, causing long tail backs and much frustration. Police have historically been loathe to do much about them, as the bureaucracy involved in prosectution is extensive. First the road traffic officer has to catch the motorist and pull them over. The motorist then gets summoned to court, with the need for evidence to actually be presented in a court of law. This two prong process is time consuming, and many police officers feel that there are better uses of their time. As Kevin Delaney, who’s the former head of Traffic and Scotland Yard said, “This is generally regarded as a disincentive for taking action”.
As a result, a mere 26,500 British motorists were prosecuted last year for ‘careless driving’, and only 20,800 were found guilty. The idea now is to implement a new wave of fines for careless driving, which are implemented on the spot by RTA. These fines include:
- £100 for sitting in the middle lane of the motorway unnecesserily
- Fine for not wearing a seatbelt increased £40 to £100
- Fine for using a mobile telephone whilst driving increased £40 to £100
- Fixed penalty for driving without insurance to double to £200
The motoring community is largely in favour of these increases in fines, especially if it results in safer driving across British roads. Edmund King, AA president, said: “An increase in the standard motoring fixed penalty fine will help deter those who commit motoring offences including
mobile phone use.
“We are also pleased to see that at long last new powers and fines will be
given to the police to tackle the top three pet hates of drivers –
tailgaters, mobile phone abusers and middle lane hogs.”
Its seen as generally more acceptable to chase motorists who commit these minor road crimes rather than say, speeders. The Tory led colalition has moved policy away from speed cameras by cutting government funding for them. Speed cameras had long been criticised as goverment cash cows which made no tangible safety improvements to the roads.