More than 17,000 convicted of careless driving in two years

  • Data shows police are taking tailgating and lane-hogging seriously
  • A total of 17,468 people convicted over two years
  • Essex tops chart as highest county for convictions

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has revealed that more than 17,000 people have been convicted of careless driving offences since police were given the power to issue fixed penalty notices two years ago.

Statistics cover the two years from August 2013 to August 2015 where a total of 17,468 people were convicted of this charge.

The key offences police can prosecute for include;

  • Tailgating
  • Needlessly hogging the middle or outside lanes
  • Failing to give way at a junction
  • Pushing into a queue of traffic or into a queue on a roundabout
  • Careless manoeuvres like wheel-spins and handbrake turns

Drivers face a fixed penalty of £100 and three points added to their licence if convicted of a careless driving offence, or the police can offer educational training as an alternative to penalty points.

Some 33 out of 43 police forces responded to the Freedom of Information request by the IAM. The force area with the highest number of people convicted was Essex (3,630), followed by Humberside (1,998), Nottinghamshire (1,139), Derbyshire (949) and Hampshire (929).

The rest of the top 12 overall numbers of people convicted according to police force area were:

6. Thames Valley: 924

7. Surrey: 830

8. West Yorkshire: 804

9. Cheshire: 720

10. Greater Manchester: 607

11. Lancashire: 578

12. Dyfed-Powys: 440

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: “While these offences fall under the lower end of the scale for motoring transgressions, such driving behaviour could easily have caused a serious accident. Tailgating is an aggressive action designed to intimidate another driver, while unpredictable lane-changing is both thoughtless and dangerous.

“We hope these on-the-spot fines and remedial courses have helped concentrate the drivers’ minds and make them think twice about these potentially hazardous manoeuvres in the future.”

In the case of Essex with the highest number of people convicted, 2,958 of them undertook a course, 484 went to court and 188 took a conditional offer.

Humberside, the second highest area, 1,469 attended and completed a retraining course and 364 have been put forward for consideration for court prosecution.