The new measures could cut the number of middle-lane hogs
Tougher legislation to fine drivers who tailgate, hog the middle lane or display poor driving behaviour, comes into force today.
The plans, revealed in June, give police greater powers to penalise careless drivers immediately, rather than sending them to court. The idea is to save police time, which would otherwise be spent pursuing lengthy court cases, and to discourage drivers from careless driving.
Existing fixed penalties for not wearing a seatbelt, or using a mobile phone while driving, will rise from £60 to £100. The fixed penalty for driving without insurance is also rising from £200 to £300.
It's also thought that police will be able to utilise their new powers to issue fixed penalty notices to those not giving way at junctions, or to those using the wrong lane at a roundabout.
Previously, many instances of poor driving had gone unpunished due to the time required and complexity involved in prosecuting a motorist. They would have to be stopped, issued a summons and then have evidence presented against them in court.
Launching the new policy, transport 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."
Several organisations expressed positive views on the developments in the run up to the launch, but there is also overall concern that the new regulations will have little real-world effect on road safety due to the requirement for a physical police presence on the road.