Police stop over 5,000 drivers for lane hogging and tailgating

Policeman and motorist
17 Mar, 2014 4:06pm Joe Finnerty

Exclusive figures reveal impact of new careless driving laws after six months

Traffic cops have pulled over more than 5,000 motorists under new laws to curb lane hogging and tailgating.

Auto Express submitted Freedom of Information requests to all 45 forces to see how many they’d stopped and why, and can reveal 5,472 drivers have been stopped since 16 August, when the new powers came into force.

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The laws allow police to issue on-the-spot fines and licence points to drivers for careless driving such as lane hogging, tailgaiting or wheelspins. Drivers can also be dealt with by way of an educational course, similar to the drink-driving scheme offered to cut the length of a driving ban.

The exclusive figures show Police Scotland issued the most, with 1,454, although it covers a larger area than many forces. In second place was Nottinghamshire. Many forces were unable to tell us exactly why drivers had been stopped – they could only split them between those pulled over for driving without due care and attention and inconsiderate driving.

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However, several forces did break it down. Out of these 600 specific offences, there were 154 lane hoggers – the most (48) in Thames Valley. Undertaking offences were recorded 84 times, as were 46 tailgaters. Drivers doing things like wheelspins or handbrake turns accounted for 143 offences – with 42 of these recorded in Lancashire.

Over the past six months, police also witnessed a host of other offences that fall under the new legislation, including accelerating through a puddle or mounting the kerb.

Some forces don’t issue fixed penalty notices, dealing with cases by traffic offence reports and re-education. But five – Northumbria, Durham, Dyfed-Powys, South Wales and Cleveland – aren’t stopping inconsiderate drivers at all as they don’t have the facilities to offer the education course.

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Our figures are the first sign of how frequently the new laws are being applied, so we asked key industry bodies for their feedback.

The Department for Transport declined to comment as its statistics work in 12-month cycles. It said any impact on road safety would be difficult to gauge.

But RAC Foundation director Prof Stephen Glaister said: “The encouraging thing is that this new law is being used by police. The long-term test is whether accident rates fall.”

The Institute of Advanced Motorists’ Neil Greig added: “We had doubts about whether it would become a numbers game, but the figures suggest the power’s being used in the right way.”

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.” 

Top 10 police forces

Police Scotland 1,454
Nottinghamshire 977
Met Police 544
Humberside 389
West Yorkshire 272
Essex 242
Lancashire 194
Greater Manchester 184
Surrey 162
Hampshire 144

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About time they went and did some proper work and caught thieves & other more serious criminals than deal with this.

I guess the forces must be running a little bit short of cash for the coffee & biscuit fund back at base.

Essex has the countries worse middle lane hogging road. I drive along the A13 between Lakeside - Dagenham - Lakeside and every single time you are confronted with multiple middle hoggers. Shame the Police aren't ever about as they would have a field day, EVERY DAY.

These are people that annoy a lot of people everyday. The police aren't doing enough to stop them, nor are the penalties high enough. People who care so little about their driving are potential killers and should be forced to retake their test.

Perhaps they should remove loads of oap's who dawdle because they have all day, women on the brat run ( put them on the bus) they either drive like morons or creep around like a granny in a zimmer frame, taxi drivers who just drive like maniacs & in Guildford at least don't seem to know what one way, no entry & red traffic then lights mean.

A bit ridiculous that statement. Drivers are serious criminals if they speed/drive dangerously and kill someone. Many idiots taking pics of rare cars with their cameraphones whilst driving dowm the motorway so they can post them on facebook pages, texting whilst driving, driving up peoples chuff, all are very dangerous acts that could cause a fatality, usually of an innocent victim, rather than the eejit behind the wheel.

Have you ever considered that mums doing the school run are actually using their cars as they drop their child off on their way to work.......

Reading the caustic and somewhat puerile nature of your comment - it doesn't take much to determine precisely what moronic category you fit into. Anyone who chooses to use a pseudonym rather than use their name has to be suspect - and I guess you must be an outside lane-hogger. I am the double OAP who regularly flashes you to move over to the left.

The powers that be need to get all sat-nav producers to stop using the term move or keep right when people are not to exit motorways. The amount of morons I see moving over to the right when they are approaching a motorway exit and not overtaking anybody is ridiculous. Surely they could simply say “remain on motorway” or something similar so that the simpletons don’t get confused…

They need to come down my road and book the many drivers doing 70-80mph in a 30 mph limit!

No where near as many as they should be...

I was travelling up the M1 a few weeks back in the evening, I was doing "motorway speeds" in lane 1, ahead of me was a car doing the same speed in lane 2 - there was nothing in front of either of us for a good half mile. Out of nowhere, an unmarked 5-series flew up behind the car in lane 2 and flashed it. The car ignored it. They then put the blue lights on, still ignored. They pulled next to it, ignored. Finally they got in front of it and, I can only assume, wrote something on those digital signs they have in the back window. Finally and very abruptly, the car moved into lane 1.

If they'd move over on the initial flash, I could almost understand being let off but this was blatant stupidity/inattention/stubbornness and the coppers let them off!