Fines and points for middle-lane hoggers
As of 16 August, the police have new powers to punish careless drivers - including middle-lane hoggers and drivers who tailgate other motorists - on the spot, with a fixed penalty notice giving a £100 fine plus three points on their licence. Previously, careless driving offences have been dealt with only in court.
The new rules will allow the police to act on a greater number of potentially dangerous mototring offences without having to sacrifice time and resources putting every offender through the court system. However, the most serious motoring offences will continue to be taken straight to the courts.
Educational training may be offered to some drivers as an alternative to points. If the driver doesn't agree that they have committed an offence, they will be asked to attend a court hearing to make their case. If a court finds such motorists guilty after all, the fines they impose are usually much greater than the one originally issued with the fixed penalty notice.
Also changing today are the fines for most motoring offences, which increase by at least £20. This includes a rise from £30 to £50 for the fine for the non-endorsable (ie. without points) fixed penalty notice issued for offences such as sitting in box junctions, ignoring roundabout priority and the mis-use of headlamps (for example, driving with your foglights on when it's not foggy). This fine can also be given to a cyclist riding on a footpath.
Offences which previously incurred an endorseable (ie. with points) fixed penalty with a fee of £60 – such as use of a mobile phone while driving, speeding offences, driving on the hard shoulder of a motorway and not stopping when required at a pedestrian crossing - now come with a higher fee of £100 in addition to the points they incur.
The £60 non-endorsable fixed penalty notice (FPN) goes up to £100, the £120 endorsable FPN rises to £200, and the £200 endorsable FPN – most commonly given to motorists driving without third-party insurance – increases to £300.
Penalty points do not go up, however, and fixed penalty notices for parking, waiting and obstruction offences are also unchanged.