New careless driving penalties

Nearly a third of drivers at risk of new fines for being middle lane hogs

Nearly a third of drivers at risk of new fines for being middle lane hogs

Nearly a third of drivers at risk of new fines for being middle lane hogs

Almost a third of drivers are at risk of getting one of the new fixed penalty notices for careless driving, which come into force on Friday 16 August, warns the AA.

AA-Populus research has shown that nearly a third (29%) of drivers admit to being middle lane hogs*, just one of the habits that can be tackled under the new notices.

Young drivers were the most likely to admit to this habit, with four in ten (41%) saying they tend to stick in lane two on a motorway in moderate, free-flowing traffic. The least likely age group to say they stay in the middle lane were 45-to-54-year-olds (26%).

What is lane 1 for?

Young drivers were also least likely to be able to correctly identify lane 1 as the ‘cruising lane’, with just 17% doing so correctly. One in ten 18-to-24-year-olds (9%) thought this lane was the ‘lorry lane’ and 5% thought it was the ‘acceleration/deceleration lane’.

Regional

Regionally, London drivers are most likely to say they are middle lane hogs (38%), and the least likely are those in Yorkshire and Humberside (24%).

Drivers in London were also most likely to say they tend to stick in lane 3 (7%); the least likely were drivers in Northern Ireland (2%) and Scotland (2%).

Who taught you to drive on motorways?

This confusion over correct motorway etiquette is perhaps unsurprising given half of drivers (51%) taught themselves to drive on motorways. And only 1 in 10 (10%) said they had a motorway lesson with the driving instructor after passing their test.

But help is on hand from the AA Charitable Trust, which is funding free Drive Confident courses given by AA Driving School instructors. The two hour courses can be used by drivers to help combat any area of their driving they feel needs work.

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

Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust

Comment

Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “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.

“It is worrying that 3 quarters of drivers see others using mobile phones behind the wheel on some or most journeys.

“This epidemic of hand held mobile phone use while driving has already cost lives and our members have demanded action. An increase in the standard motoring fixed penalty fine** will help deter those who commit motoring offences including mobile phone use. AA members broadly support an increase in the level of the fixed penalty. Our members also fully support educational training as an alternative to penalty points.”

We support the idea to allow learners on motorways under the guidance of a qualified instructor

Jim Kirkwood, MD of AA Driving School

Allowing learners onto motorways

Driving on the motorway is not currently allowed until you have passed your driving test. But allowing learners on these roads is one of the proposals being considered in the Government’s green paper on young driver safety, due out this autumn.

Jim Kirkwood, managing director of the AA Driving School, said: “We support the idea to allow learners on motorways under the guidance of a qualified instructor.

“Learning the correct way to drive on motorways is key to keeping you safe on these roads. It will also help ensure new drivers do not fall foul of the new fines.”

Driving on a Motorway

AA Driving School’s top tips for motorway driving:

  • Keep left unless overtaking – return to the left-hand lane after overtaking, not forgetting to indicate, and check your blind spot
  • Follow the two-second rule – give yourself enough time and space to react
  • Adjust for the conditions – slow down and follow the four-second rule if the road is slippery or visibility is poor.
  • Control your speed
  • Indicate in good time before changing lanes
  • Check your mirrors often – your situation will change quickly on the motorway
  • Take extra care around trucks and other large vehicles – they have bigger blind spots and slower reaction times
  • Anticipate what's coming next by sweeping the road ahead visually – look 2 seconds ahead, 4 seconds ahead, and 12 seconds ahead, and check your mirrors.
  • Only use the hard shoulder for emergencies
  • Take regular breaks  – about every two hours, to stop yourself becoming tired behind the wheel

(13 August 2013)

* Populus interviewed 19,949 adults aged 18+ on The AA/Populus online panel between 11-18 July2013.. Populus www.populus.co.uk is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

**New penalty levels from 16 August: £30 FPN becomes £50, £60 FPN becomes £100