A Freedom of Information request by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has revealed that Essex is the police force with the highest level of careless driving convictions followed by Humberside, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Hampshire - Durham came bottom of the list, or should that be top?
The IAM request 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 for it two years ago. Essex, the force area with the highest number of people convicted with 3,630 drivers sanctioned.
Forces will of course vary in their level of enforcement and the populations covered, but Essex was followed by Humberside (1,998), Nottinghamshire (1,139), Derbyshire (949) and Hampshire (929). Durham was bottom of the list with just 12 convictions, while 10 forces failed to respond to the IAM’s request.
On August 16, 2013 police were given the power to give on-the-spot penalties to drivers who put other road users’ lives at risk for offences such as tailgating and poor lane discipline.
The fixed penalty for careless driving is £100 with three points on the driver’s licence, but police are also able to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement. The most serious examples should however go through court, where offenders may face higher penalties.
In the case of Essex, 2,958 people undertook a course, 484 went to court and 188 took a conditional offer.
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.”