New 'rude' driving laws catch 200 each week

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Traffic On M11 Motorway, England, UK

More than 5,000 motorists have been nabbed by the police in new lane hogging and tailgating laws. Scotland and Nottinghamshire police have been most zealous with the new legislation, tackling 2,431 motorists. The new laws also extend to wheel-spinning, mounting the kerb and accelerating through water.

But several forces aren't pulling over inconsiderate drivers - at all.

Road hogs slapped

Autoexpress magazine put forward Freedom of Information requests to all 45 police forces to evaluate how the new motoring 'rude' laws are being used. It emerges that Northumbria, Durham, Dyfed-Powys, South Wales and Cleveland aren't using the new powers because they can't offer follow-up driver education classes.

The stats sucked in various regional differences: for wheel-spinning and handbrake turns, head to Lancashire. Lancashire police recorded 143 of these offences, more than any other force. For road-hogging offences, the most chalked up - 48 in total - came from the Thames Valley.

"The encouraging thing," RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister told Autoexpress, "is that this new law is being used by police. The long-term test is whether accident rates fall."

Keep left!

What is inconsiderate driving? Think driving too close to the vehicle in front, barging into a queue of traffic, needlessly hogging or dawdling in the middle or outside lanes. Plus under-taking - an increasingly dangerous move - overtaking a vehicle on the 'wrong' side. That is, on the left of a car instead of the right.

Penalties now include on-the-spot fines and forcing drivers to take an educational course, similar to drink-driving and speeding schemes. The fixed penalty for careless driving is £100 with three points on a driver's licence.

"The most serious examples will continue to go through court, where offenders may face higher penalties," says the police.

Stupid risk

The new 'rude' laws have been welcome by many motoring organisations. Bad driving often went unpunished because of the sheer complexity - time, money, resources, the need for a summons and court evidence - of prosecutions in the past.

A film from the Highways Agency claims lane hogs cause congestion, frustration and danger. This link is a good example of rude, reckless behaviour the new laws are designed to catch.

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