Police apply the brakes on motorway tailgaters in summer crackdown

TWELVE drivers have appeared in court following a summer crackdown on tailgating on the M6.

The motorists appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court after they were caught tailgating as part of Operation Proximity in Staffordshire.

The 12 drivers – eight HGV drivers, two car drivers, a taxi driver and a van driver – were stopped by officers from the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) over two weeks in June. They were charged with driving without due care and attention and handed fines, ranging from £80 to £440, and three points were added to their licences.

A further 32 drivers were handed a fixed penalty notice or booked onto an education course.

Inspector Damian Shave, from CMPG, said: “Tailgating is a serious problem on the roads. Figures released earlier this year by Highways England show that one in eight of all road casualties are caused by people who drive too close to the vehicle in front, with more than 100 people killed or seriously injured each year.

“This two-week operation was aimed at raising awareness of tailgating as an offence. It also formed part of our commitment to making the motorway networks safer and ensuring that people are driving appropriately.

“Tailgating is extremely dangerous and is an offence that can carry up to nine points. We will continue to crack down on culprits as part of our zero-tolerance approach to drivers whose standard of driving puts others in danger.”

Brent Hill, Police Led Prosecutor for West Midlands Police said: “The importance of drivers applying their knowledge of braking distances applies just as much to the motorway as it does to any other road on the network.

 “There’s a significant public interest in the Police applying harm reduction principles to motorway driving, where a simple driving miscalculation can quickly escalate into a serious incident involving injury and death. Motorways are inherently dangerous places and the police will continue to take steps to help manage the risk, to try and ensure that the public is kept as safe as possible, even if this means prosecuting drivers. Keep your distance, is the message.”

Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said: “We know that tailgating makes the driver in front feel targeted and victimised, distracting their attention from the road ahead and making them more likely to make a mistake.

“We want people to get to their destinations safely so the advice is really simple; stay safe, stay back, and remember to leave plenty of space between yourselves and the vehicle in front.”