CURBING POOR ROAD BEHAVIOUR: Remember, the next time you're driving on a British motorway, that you could be handed a hefty fine for being inconsiderate to other road-users. Image: Shutterstock
LONDON, England – Tailgating, dangerous overtaking, skipping red lights - common, though dangerous, practices on South Africa’s roads. But what about everyday lane-hogging...?
UK authorities are out to curb reckless road behaviour by enabling its police to issue spot fines or court summonses for special offences. Such as to this guy...
Ian Stephens has earned the dubious honour of being the first to be fined for “motorway middle-lane hogging” since the offence's introduction in the UK in 2013.
Stephens was fined the equivalent of R18 000 for driving his Citroen Berlingo at 96km/h (60mph) in the central lane of the M62 in north-west England in August 2014. The UK's general motorway speed limit is 112km/h (70mph).
Would handing steep fines for lane-hogging curb dangerous practices in South Africa? How about steep penalties for tailgating or dangerous overtaking?
Stephens said he was travelling with ladders on his van at 100km/h and didn't believe he had done anything wrong.
The UK's Daily Mirror reported that he claimed he was forced to stay in the centre of the steep section of the motorway due to high winds and insisted that he was travelling faster than traffic in the left lane.
The UK Telegraph said officers in a Range Rover followed his van and claimed to have witnessed six vehicles forced to swerve or brake sharply to avoid him.
The Leeds Magistrates' Court was told that Stephens had been driving in “an inconsiderate manner” by blocking other vehicles. In addition to the huge fine, the court also added five penalty points to his driving licence.
In 2013 British authorities were given more power to issue spot fines to careless drivers for special offences such as hogging the middle lane, tailgating and failing to give way at a junction.
‘WE WELCOME THE CONVICTION’
UK vehicle recovery specialist GEM said that lane-hogging is inconsiderate and causes frustration for many road users.
GEM CEO David Williams said: “Dangerous lane-hogging is inconsiderate, increases motorway congestion, and can inconvenience other road-users. All drivers should know they should use the left lane unless overtaking. When they have finished overtaking, they should return to the the left lane.
“We welcome the conviction, although we would prefer drivers to understand the rules and use motorway lanes correctly, without the need for penalties and fines.
"We would also welcome more police patrols on our motorways to provide an effective deterrent to drivers otherwise more likely to ignore these rules.”
Do you think the South African traffic authorities should enforce laws governing special offences such as lane-hogging and tailgating? Email us and we’ll publish your thoughts on Wheels24. Or use the Readers' Comments section below.