With the first middle lane hogging conviction handed out by an English court this week, might we have found a new deterrent against antisocial driving?
Leeds Magistrates Court fined a van driver almost £1000 for persistently refusing to move his Citroen Berlingo van out of the middle lane of the M62 near Huddersfield. Traffic police reported that the driver blocked at least six other vehicles that had to brake and swerve to overtake the van, which was only travelling at 60mph in a lane meant for overtaking.
The court heard that the van driver had “numerous opportunities” to move into the left-hand lane but failed to do so. In addition to the fine, the driver was also given five penalty points on his licence.
The Law on Middle Lane Hogging
Middle lane hogging is nothing new but the law aimed at deterring drivers from doing just that has only been around since 2013.
Police were given the power to issue on-the-spot fines for people who drive in an antisocial manner, such as tailgating, middle lane hogging and undertaking on the inside lane.
At the time the law was passed, the then Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said, “Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk.”
Does Middle Lane Hogging Cause Accidents?
Middle lane hogging causes congestion and wastes a third of motorway capacity, according to independent research by both the AA and the RAC.
What’s more worrying is that, with traffic bunched up into the middle and outside lanes, some drivers could become frustrated and try to undertake the driver hogging the middle lane by moving into the inside lane. This is a dangerous practice and a real road traffic accident risk, especially when you consider how hard it is to see other drivers who might be, correctly, using the outside lane to overtake the middle lane hogger. When they have overtaken the hogger and move into the middle lane themselves, it could be at exactly the same time as the driver who is undertaking on the inside lane.
With the school summer break almost upon us, our motorways will see a lot more traffic as families make their way to their holiday destinations. Many drivers will be spending much longer periods on motorways than usual, so let’s hope that the recent middle lane hogging court conviction will act as a deterrent, and that motorway drivers will be more considerate towards one another.
Jane Cooper is a Principal Lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK specialising in road traffic accident claims.
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