Motorists deemed to be hogging the middle lane or tailgating face three points on their licence and £100 on-the-spot fines from today, with the offences now falling under the careless driving penalty.
Meanwhile, fines for other traffic offences, such as driving without a seatbelt and using a mobile phone at the wheel, will also face stricter penalties. These will now come with a £100 fine, up from the original £60 penalty.
And anyone caught driving without insurance will now face a £300 penalty, as opposed to the £200 handed out previously.
Police will also be given powers to issue on-the-spot fines to drivers that are found to be using the wrong lane on a roundabout or do not give way at a T-junction.
|Type of offence||Fine||Points|
|Failing to give way, obscuring number plate, stopping on hard shoulder, misuse of headlights, sounding horn at night||£50||Non-endorsable fixed penalty notice (where the driver does not receive points on their licence)|
|Using a mobile while driving, speeding, reversing on a motorway, Failing to stop at a red light||£100||Endorsable fixed penalty notice (points issued)|
|Failure to display tax disc, not wearing a seat belt when driving, driving without an MoT certificate||£100||Non-endorsable fixed penalty notice|
|Failure to identify driver||£200||Endorsable fixed penalty notice offence|
|Driving without third party insurance||£300||Endorsable fixed penalty notice offence|
The Government hopes the plans will help put a halt to careless driving while allowing police to deal with some traffic offences without going through the courts. However, drivers will still be able to contest any fine through the courts.
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.
“We are also increasing penalties for a range of driving offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences.”
There have been concerns that, since the number of traffic police has fallen from the 2003 figure of 6,902 to 4,608, the new rules are unlikely to make a big difference to road safety.