New government measures announced
It has been announced that from July the police will be able to issue £100 fines and three points for careless driving offences that would currently have to go to court, and now if you are a middle lane hogger or a motorway tailgater you are in the line of fire. Are you a middle lane hogger? A lot of motorists are completely unaware that they are, it is not until the car behind flashes or starts to drive too closely that awareness sets in. But it is a pet hate of many a motorway driver when stuck behind the middle lane hogger and perhaps it is time to shake everyone up a bit and make motorway drivers safer but how guilty drivers will be targeted will probably be quite a task. Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said "Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people's lives at risk. That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court." Current fixed penalties for using a phone while driving or not wearing a seatbelt will also rise by £40 to £100. The AA said responsible drivers would welcome the changes "we are 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," said AA president Edmund King and RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister is in agreement "anti-social behaviour is as big a problem on the roads as it is in wider society. Giving police more discretion to act, and freeing up resources to allow them to do so by cutting procedural delays in court, is good news. Raising the fine level to £100 is justifiable to tackle the plague of handheld mobile phone use which slows drivers' reaction times even more than being at the drink-drive limit or taking cannabis." The Department of Transport has not yet released official guidance on which types of driving will attract fines, but police are expected to focus on situations involving slightly aggressive and inconsiderate driving, such as driving too close to the vehicle in front, failing to give way at a junction (not requiring evasive action by another driver), overtaking and pushing into a queue of traffic, being in the wrong lane and pushing into a queue on a roundabout, lane discipline, eg needlessly hogging the middle or outside lanes, inappropriate speed, wheel-spins, handbrake turns and other careless manoeuvres. I could think of a few more annoying and dangerous driving habits that could do with attention; when on the motorway and the lanes diminish from three to two gradually and the annoying and arrogant drivers that continue to drive until the last possible moment and then push in! Undertaking I think is one of the worst offences and very dangerous and no one ever seems to be seen doing it by a policeman and then there is the annoying motorist who decides to keep his indicator on so you wait and wait thinking is he moving out, what is he doing, I could go on..... People guilty of careless driving will face fixed penalties or the chance to go on a driving course, but the more serious examples will continue to go through the courts, where offenders could face much higher fines and penalties.
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