Thousands of motorists have been hit with £100 fines for inconsiderate driving habits. Some of the offences that are covered by the recently introduced spot fines have included reading a book while driving, while other motorists have been fined for splashing pedestrians. Undertaking and lane hogging are among some of the other inconsiderate, illegal acts that have landed drivers with fines.
Police forces have been given new powers to help them tackle drivers that are classed as inconsiderate and anti-social, or careless. Spot fines can be given to the driver, and these are typically around £100, and forces across the country have been encouraged to use these new powers in order to clamp down on this type of behaviour. Critics have pointed out, however, that the disparity in the number of spot fines issued in different areas of the country has led to what they describe as a postcode lottery.
Lane hogging was introduced as a specific offence in 2013, and it was directed at those drivers that use the middle lane even when other lanes are clear. The offence of tailgating was also introduced at this time, although it was possible for the police and prosecution to convict a driver of careless driving or other offences if they were found to be guilty of driving too close to the car in front.
Figures released show the number of drivers that have fallen foul of the spot fines, with more than 10,000 drivers guilty of being inconsiderate having received the fines. Police Scotland were the force that handed out the greatest number of fines, with 3,252 fines being issued. The Metropolitan Police handed out 1,397 tickets but Durham Police only issued three of these fines. Several forces, including South Wales, said that they had not issued a single fine but preferred to encourage driver re-education instead.
A number of groups have hit out at the disparity in figures, stating that many drivers simply do not believe that they will get caught for such offences, and this means that the introduction of the law and the fines is not enough – forces must do more to enforce them and therefore show that they are a real possibility.