The Department for Transport (DfT) has implemented a range of new fixed penalty notices for UK motorists pulled over for careless driving on the nation’s roads.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Driving is the most dangerous thing most of us do on a daily basis, but sadly some drivers remain complacent about the risks and the law. Bad driving causes deaths and life-changing injuries that tear families apart and affect whole communities.”
The new offences that motorists need to be aware of include driving inappropriately close to another vehicle (tailgating), undertaking on the inside of vehicles, hogging the middle lane of the motorway, inadvertently breaking a red light, failing to wear a seatbelt and visibly lacking control of the vehicle while carrying out tasks like lighting a cigarette or tuning the radio, among others.
Anyone arrested for careless driving will now face fines of up to £100 and the prospect of having three points put on their licence. Meanwhile, police officers have also been given additional discretion to send offenders on road safety awareness courses in lieu of financial penalties.
Ms Townsend added it is important that all drivers are aware of their responsibility to take to the roads in a safe and sensible manner, taking into account at all times the other road users around them and staying in control of their vehicle.
It is hoped that this latest change will have a beneficial impact on driver’s attitudes to careless driving, although not all road safety organisations in the UK share this optimism.
Chief executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) Simon Best said: “The IAM believes that driver retraining courses have a much bigger potential to actually improve poor driving than simply issuing a standard fine and should always be offered as the first stage of prosecution.”
Indeed, even with these new offences coming into force across the country, research carried out by the AA revealed 29 per cent of all drivers state they believe themselves to be ‘middle lane hogs’.
In a survey of younger motorists – aged 18 to 24 – the proportion of individuals who could correctly identify the first lane of the motorway as the ‘cruising lane’ (17 per cent) was also slightly worrying, with nine per cent referring to its as the ‘lorry lane’ and five per cent believing it is an area reserved for accelerating and decelerating when joining and leaving the carriageway.
That said, the government is committed to cracking down on careless driving and boosting awareness among the public of its dangers. As a result, this raft of new measures aims to do just that. This is the first time fines of this type have been raised since 2000.
Individuals convicted of driving offences can often find it is extremely costly to find cover once they come back to the roads. However, the team at GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Limited pride themselves on delivering competitive prices for its convicted driver insurance.
The company has a range of special schemes open to individuals who have been convicted of a range of offences in the past, including comprehensive packages for anyone who has been caught driving without insurance, while under the influence of alcohol, speeding or driving in a dangerous or careless manner.