Lane hogging and tailgating on-the-spot fines in force

by TTWpartners

Lane hogging and tailgating on-the-spot fines in force

Careless drivers across Britain who hog lanes or tailgate can now be punished with on-the-spot police fines.

Under the new measures, officers can issue £100 fines and three points rather than taking drivers to court.

Ministers said it would make tackling problem motorists easier. The AA said a third of drivers risked facing a fine.

Fixed penalties for a number of offences, including using a phone or not wearing a seatbelt while driving, have also risen from £60 to £100.

More serious driving offences will still go through the courts and could result in much higher fines and penalties.

‘Lives at risk’

But people caught carrying out offences subject to the new penalties, which were first announced in June, will be able to choose between an on-the-spot fine or the chance to go on a driving course.

The move brings careless or inconsiderate driving offences into line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties. Drivers can still appeal against any decision through the courts.

Among the offences police are expected to focus on are:

• Driving too close to the vehicle in front

• Failing to give way at a junction (not requiring evasive action by another driver)

• Overtaking and pushing into a queue of traffic

• Being in the wrong lane and pushing into a queue on a roundabout

• Lane discipline, such as needlessly hogging the middle or outside lanes

• Inappropriate speed

• Wheel-spins, handbrake turns and other careless manoeuvres

Many such offences currently go unpunished because of the bureaucracy involved in taking a case to court.

Not only does a motorist have to be stopped by the police, but a summons has to be issued and evidence presented in court.

Road safety minister Stephen Hammond told BBC Breakfast that the fines had been increased to “reflect the severity and the seriousness of offences”.

He added: “I think it’s the right level to choose, and I’m convinced that it will be a deterrent for a number of people.”

‘Numbers game’

The AA said responsible drivers would welcome the changes but added that a survey of 20,000 motorists suggested one in three could be caught out hogging the middle lane.

It’s worth bearing in mind that this isn’t a new offence, it is just another way of dealing with the current offence of “careless driving”.

In the past, the police might have just given you a verbal warning – or in extreme cases taken you to court. Now they can do something in the middle. Give you a fine, and maybe points.

I am told that the police are expected to focus on situations involving slightly aggressive and inconsiderate driving.

We’ll just have to wait and see how many fines get handed out and for exactly what kind of offence.

“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,” said AA president Edmund King.

Motoring group the RAC said fines were “one part of the solution” to bad driving.

“The question that still remains is how the traffic police will practically enforce this law,” said technical director David Bizley.

Road safety charities have welcomed the government’s attempt to crack down on careless driving but expressed concerns about the way the fines would be implemented.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said a “robust monitoring system” was needed to enforce the changes, with more training on the new powers needed for police officers.

Brake said that while it backed the introduction of fixed penalties, the level of fines should be increased to between £500 and £1,000 so they were “high enough to deter all bad drivers”.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) said driver retraining courses would be more effective than fines at improving driving.

Chief executive Simon Best warned if the move “just becomes another numbers game, with thousands of careless driving tickets issued, then the impact will be limited”.

 

The original article can be found here

Which existing fines are going up?

Offences include Was Now
SOURCE: DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Non-endorsable fixed penalty notice (where the driver does not receive points on their licence) Failing to give way, obscuring registration number, stopping on the hard shoulder, misuse of headlights, sounding horn at night £30 £50
Endorsable fixed penalty notice (points issued) Using a mobile while driving, speeding, reversing on a motorway, not stopping at a red light £60 £100
Non-endorsable fixed penalty notice Failure to display tax disc, not wearing a seat belt when driving, driving without an MoT certificate £60 £100
Endorsable fixed penalty notice offence Failure to identify driver £120 £200
Endorsable fixed penalty notice offence Driving without third party insurance £200 £300

Warning over ‘flash-for-cash’ car accident insurance scam

by TTWpartners

Warning over ‘flash-for-cash’ car accident insurance scam
By Richard Westcott BBC transport correspondent

 

Motorists are being warned about a new insurance scam where criminals flash their lights to let other drivers out of a junction, then crash into them on purpose.

Anti-fraud experts are calling it “flash-for-cash”.

The gangs tend to target new, smarter vehicles or vulnerable road users, including older people and women with children in the car.

The scam is costing insurers hundreds of millions of pounds every year.

It is a new tactic for an already well established crime, called “crash for cash”, where criminals slam on the brakes for no reason so that the victim drives into the back of their car.

Police investigators said the criminals will often remove the bulbs in their brake lights so other road users don’t know they’re stopping.

However, “flash-for-cash” is more crafty, because it is harder to prove in court, often coming down to the innocent driver’s word against the criminal’s that they flashed their lights to let them out.

Fake claims

Each “accident” can net the gangs tens of thousands of pounds in a variety of ways.

Firstly, they put in false personal injury claims for whiplash, sometimes including claims for people who were not even in the car. Added to that, they might charge the insurance company for loss of earnings, then they put in fake bills for vehicle storage, recovery, repairs, and replacement car hire.

Detective Inspector Dave Hindmarsh from the Metropolitan Police is an expert at catching them out. He says this kind of crime costs the industry a fortune and, as ever, it’s the honest, insurance-paying motorist who is footing the bill,

“The problem is a growing problem. Financially it costs insurers £392m a year – that impacts on motorists as it’s an extra £50 to £100 on every person’s premium so that’s a financial cost.

“[There are] emotional costs [as] if you’re involved in a crash you could well lose your confidence, and if your passengers are children they may well become wary of being passengers in cars, and of course you may get injured or killed.”

This latest “flash-for-cash” warning has come from Asset Protection Unit (APU), a company which helps the police and the insurance industry investigate fraud. Neil Thomas at APU says the criminals pick on people who are not going to put up a fight,

“Perhaps single females in the car with children in the back, perhaps doing the school run. Where they know there’s going to be no resistance, no real argument at the scene. The children are going to be upset”.

Good intentions

Generally speaking, drivers are not meant to flash their lights to let people out onto busy roads. It is meant to be used as a warning.

The Highway Code says: “Flashing headlights. Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users. Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully.”

However, the reality is that most people do use it as a friendly gesture, and law-abiding motorists feel it’s a shame that something that is meant to be so positive, a rare show of good manners on the road, is now being abused by criminals.

The police and fraud experts believe that by raising awareness, and making people more wary, there is a good chance many drivers won’t take the bait when the criminals lay a trap.

Have you been a victim of “flash-for-cash”? You can send us your experiences using the form below.

 

Please see the original article here