Legislation aimed at reducing accidents caused by careless driving, tailgating, undertaking and breaking red lights – how can these help your car accident claim?
New careless driving rules for road users
A range of new careless driving offences have been introduced for UK motorists.
Motorists up and down the UK should now be more aware than ever of the dangers and consequences of careless driving, as earlier this month the government launched a raft of new offences that can see car owners fined up to £100 and points added on to their licence.
Aimed at reducing the number of road traffic accidents and better safeguarding the lives of innocent road users and pedestrians, the new laws came into effect from August 16th and address a number of safety concerns regarding individuals not paying due care and attention to the road and other drivers around them.
The new offences in full
Road safety minister Stephen Hammond stated: “Careless driving puts innocent people’s lives at risk – that is why we have made it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice for low level offending rather than taking these offenders to court.”
Fines for offences that would previously have resulted in charges of £60 and three points on a person’s licence have now risen to £100 and three points. These include the use of a mobile phone while driving and failing to wear a seatbelt.
It is the first time these fines have been raised by the government since 2000.
Meanwhile, a range of new offences have also been brought into effect, with motorists told to avoid the following practices or face the consequences: tailgating, undertaking, inadvertently breaking a red light, emerging from side roads into the path of another vehicle, being avoidably distracted by actions like lighting a cigarette or tuning the radio and hogging the middle lane of the motorway.
What the experts say
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Driving is the most dangerous thing most of us do on a daily basis, but sadly some drivers remain complacent about the risks and the law.
“Bad driving causes deaths and life-changing injuries that tear families apart and affect whole communities. All drivers have a responsibility to ensure they aren’t putting others at risk, and are helping to prevent these needless casualties.”
She added there are simple steps all drivers can take to stay safe when out on the roads, including cutting their speed, giving the road their full attention and remembering to belt up.
As such, Ms Townsend argued increasing the financial penalties for those who break the law in this manner can only be a good thing for society and all road users in general.
In terms of the changes’ expected impact on road safety, Institute of Advanced Motorists chief executive Simon Best said: “If the police target the worst and most persistent offenders this could be good news.
“If, however, it just becomes another numbers game with thousands of careless driving tickets issued then the impact will be limited.”
Meanwhile, Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust, concluded: “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.”
The AA’s top tips for safe driving
With careless driving coming under closer scrutiny than ever before, motoring organisation the AA has offered a number of helpful tips to help all drivers to stay safe and avoid falling foul of the law when taking to the UK’s motorways.
Remember to keep as far left as possible unless overtaking, while always returning to the left-hand lane as soon as possible once these manoeuvres have been completed. Furthermore, drivers should follow the two second follow rule, as this gives them more time and space to react in the event of motorists braking or changing lanes up ahead.
Be aware of the dangers posed by larger vehicles like trucks and lorries, as many of these road users will have blind spots that drivers need to stay out of if possible.
Check mirrors often and control speed properly, remembering that awareness of one’s surroundings and driving in a defensive manner is the best way to stay safe when out on the UK’s busy roads.