5,000 drivers stopped for ‘careless driving’
Reports show that more than five thousand drivers have been stopped under new careless driving laws since August last year. Figures show that 1454 people have been issued with on the spot fines for careless driving which includes lane hogging and tailgating and that is in Scotland alone.
It was announced from July 2013 that 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. It seems that the Thames Valley police are the biggest issuer of fines for lane hogging. Many areas won’t provide specific information on exactly why drivers have been stopped but out of those that did Thames Valley issued the most fines. For lane hogging they have prosecuted forty eight drivers for this offence since August last year, this compares with eighty four undertaking offences and forty six tailgater's.
Some forces reportedly aren't using the new powers to fine drivers for careless driving, but using re-education as a means of dealing with offenders, most likely by sending them on courses. However, five forces; Northumbria, Durham, Dyfed-Powys, South Wales and Cleveland are not stopping inconsiderate drivers at all, as it is thought they don’t have the facilities to offer these courses.
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. Do you know anyone who has been stopped by the police for this new offence? Perhaps you have been stopped yourself? If reports show that not all police forces are using their new powers then is it unfair that only certain areas are stopping inconsiderate and careless drivers. The Institute of Advanced Motorists’ Neil Greig said “we had doubts about whether it would become a numbers game, but the figures suggest the power’s being used in the right way.”
When the new ‘careless driving’ law was announced the AA president Edmund King 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; tailgater's, mobile phone abusers and middle lane hogs.” 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.”
Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, national roads policing lead at the Association of Chief Police Officers, said “officers have found the new procedures helpful as they seek to raise standards of driving and keep road users safe.”