A survey by the RAC discovered that drivers find ‘middle-lane hogging’ on the motorway the most irritating driving habit. As well as slowing down all the traffic behind them, the offending car also makes overtaking difficult – it’s no wonder that the habit even has its own name, MLOC or the ‘Middle Lane Owners’ Club’. But what many drivers who travel in the central lane don’t realise, is that they are committing an offence that is punishable by law. The offence falls under careless driving and, if prosecuted, could lead to a fine as well as penalty points on their licence.
Careless driving covers a number of other bad habits that many people easily fall into – often without realising. These include undertaking, taking the wrong lane on a roundabout causing other drivers to swerve and even eating or drinking behind the wheel.
Middle lane hogging was originally made illegal in 2013 but after it was introduced, so few people were being convicted that in April this year, the police announced they would be taking a tougher stance on the situation. It’s not just middle-lane hogging that the police are pulling drivers up on – the highest profile of these has been the doubling of the fines and the penalty points imposed for using a mobile phone behind the wheel. This has come as a result of a number of accidents caused by drivers using their phones instead of watching the road.
Penalties for speeding have also recently been increased, so now the most serious offences could attract fines of up 175% of the driver’s weekly income – up from the 100% that it used to be.
This all means that anyone driving on the roads today needs to have a thorough understanding of the potential offences that they could be committing and the penalties that they could face. As well as making drivers aware that repeat or serious offenders could end up losing their licence, it’s also important to realise the effect that penalty points can have on their car insurance premiums. That’s because any at all will undoubtedly cause them to rise.
The rules are changing for Britain’s motorists but the important thing to remember is that these changes have all been made with the very best of intentions – to make the roads a safer place for us all.