In August there was a degree of publicity that suggested it had just been made an offence to sit in the middle lane on motorways, or to “tailgate” other vehicles. This just highlights the ignorance of the press and public ignorance of traffic law. However ignorance is no defence!
The change in August did not create new offences but simply allowed the police to deal with the existing offence of “driving without due care and attention” by issuing a fixed penalty ticket for £100 and 3 points. The same ticket that drivers have been able to receive for speeding. Note that the fixed penalty for speeding was increased to £100 at the same time.
How this will affect the number of offences reported remains to be seen, in the past tailgating and sitting in the middle lane normally resulted in “words of advice” from a police officer, the change is likely to result in more drivers receiving a ticket rather than a reduction in cases taken to court.
If you receive a ticket under the new provisions obtain specialist legal advice before accepting the points, as the driving might not amount to “without due care” in any event. Without due care is driving which “falls below that of a careful and competent driver”.