Drivers caught tailgating can now be given an on the spot fine of £100 and three points. The fine is an increase from the previous maximum of £60. Fines can also be awarded on the spot of using a mobile phone while driving, being in the wrong lane and pushing into a queue of traffic.
The Department for Transport said fixed penalty fines haven’t increased since 2000, meaning the previous penalty did not reflect the severity of the offense.
People caught for dangerous driving will have an option to take the on the spot fine or attend a driver training course funded by the offender.
Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said: “Careless driving puts innocent people’s lives at risk. That is why we have made it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed-penalty notice for low-level offending rather than taking these offenders to court.”
Currently many offences aren’t punished due to the bureaucracy involved with going through the courts, this includes a summons needing to be issued and evidence presented in court.
Drivers who are fined will still have the ability to appeal and more serious offences will still go to court and can carry a higher penalty.
Mr Hammond says giving police new powers to award on the spot penalties will make tackling the problem easier and will result in “substantial savings in courts”. It is estimated that The Police, Criminal Justice System and the Crown Prosecution System will save £12 annually.
AA president Edmund King said “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,”
A survey by road safety group Brake and insurers Direct Line found that in the past year 57% of drivers admitted to tailgating, with 28% of drivings committing the offence monthly.
Research by the RAC Foundation revealed tailgating was the greatest cause of road rage in the UK. Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Most police forces only concentrate on speeding to the exclusion of tailgating and other dangerous driving practices.”