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    First off, I don't hog the middle lane deliberately, but I do go there perhaps for longer than I should for things like a joining slip road coming up, and I use my judgement to stay in the middle lane if the next vehicle in the slow lane is close enough and I will overtake it before another vehicle will catch me up.

    These things seem sensible to me, however there isn't really any detail distances-wise in the article so it seems as if you'd be at the mercy of whether a cop has had a bad day or not. It seems a sensible move to allow cops to issue fines (though of course, there is always the problem of fixed fines hitting the poor harder and maybe not even being felt by the rich) for recorded infringements, but it would be helpful to know where the lines are in the same way that we know speed limits. Does anyone know (and have a link to) what we're supposed to do? I'm somewhat worried that I've been taught in and gained driving experience in an environment where people are used to cops not bothering to enforce things and hence have developed a substandard level of driving - though of course I've seen much worse
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    The fact they're being called "middle lane hogging fines" is just government PR because the research consistently shows that lane hogging and tailgating are driving behaviours that annoy people.

    The truth is that it's actually a major change in the standard of proof for the offence of "careless and inconsiderate driving". Whereas before an officer would have had to have you taken to court to try and prove it, now he can issue a fixed penalty notice at the roadside for any driving which he considers to be "careless and inconsiderate".

    Another change which they have slipped in by the back door is increasing the SP30 (low/moderate level speeding) fixed penalty amount to £100 from £60. This of course has been done by calling it "offences including jumping red traffic lights and using a handheld mobile phone" - because most decent people consider those offences unacceptable, whereas people's opinions on some aspects of speed limit are much more finely balanced.
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    (Original post by TheFatController)
    The fact they're being called "middle lane hogging fines" is just government PR because the research consistently shows that lane hogging and tailgating are driving behaviours that annoy people.

    The truth is that it's actually a major change in the standard of proof for the offence of "careless and inconsiderate driving". Whereas before an officer would have had to have you taken to court to try and prove it, now he can issue a fixed penalty notice at the roadside for any driving which he considers to be "careless and inconsiderate".

    Another change which they have slipped in by the back door is increasing the SP30 (low/moderate level speeding) fixed penalty amount to £100 from £60. This of course has been done by calling it "offences including jumping red traffic lights and using a handheld mobile phone" - because most decent people consider those offences unacceptable, whereas people's opinions on some aspects of speed limit are much more finely balanced.
    That's what I'm worried about. It's possible that what I've learnt from other drivers as some sort of 'consensus driving etiquette' (eg flashing lights to say thanks, and the middle lane use I outlined in my OP) might actually now be punished by a cop having a bad day because people have grown used to not being punished for it and it seeming rather sensible. I was hoping someone could link to what the actual punishable offences are, rather than my BBC article which mostly just outlined offences.
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    It was punishable before and it still is now. Nothing's changed in the law.

    Only difference now is that Police can issue fixed penalties rather than going to court, but you can still elect to go to court if you wish (as with any fine).

    But to reiterate, nothing in the law itself has changed. There is no new "middle lane hogging offence" that a lot of news articles are making out to be. It's always been illegal under careless/inconsiderate driving.

    The test for whether or not an offence has been committed is whether or not the standard of driving falls below that of what would be expected of a contentment and considerate driver.
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    (Original post by spyka)
    It was punishable before and it still is now. Nothing's changed in the law.

    Only difference now is that Police can issue fixed penalties rather than going to court, but you can still elect to go to court if you wish (as with any fine).

    But to reiterate, nothing in the law itself has changed. There is no new "middle lane hogging offence" that a lot of news articles are making out to be. It's always been illegal under careless/inconsiderate driving.

    The test for whether or not an offence has been committed is whether or not the standard of driving falls below that of what would be expected of a contentment and considerate driver.
    I know, but it's obvious that more people are going to be pulled over and fined than pulled over and summoned to court because it is less effort for cops, so the level of discretion which people will have gotten used to will decrease. My question is, what is the standard of driving that won't get you pulled over? "Move into the left lane when safe" isn't exactly as clear as "Don't go above 70".
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    (Original post by Hopple)
    I know, but it's obvious that more people are going to be pulled over and fined than pulled over and summoned to court because it is less effort for cops, so the level of discretion which people will have gotten used to will decrease. My question is, what is the standard of driving that won't get you pulled over? "Move into the left lane when safe" isn't exactly as clear as "Don't go above 70".
    Provided you're making good speed on the vehicle ahead in the slow lane, and it would be more effort to move back in and out again, you should be in the clear.

    I think it's mostly to counter those drivers who sit there when the slow lane is completely empty for the next mile ahead, not just those who are a bit busy about not moving over to the left for 10 seconds just to pull out again.

    I'm slightly ashamed to say that I was in the slow lane at 70 (the motorway was pretty much completely clear) and then I suddenly zoomed past a car which was probably doing 60 in the middle lane, and cars were building up behind them. I just can't begin to imagine how they could not realise something was not right with their lane position. I am annoyed at myself for not noticing them, but I snuck up and had shot past them before I could think about it. Where they were was unacceptable and they were totally not following the rules of the road. Being hesitant about going to the left and back out again is probably not as clear-cut because there is suitable traffic around them.


    So yes, it is down to their discretion, but so are many things about driving and you may not get pulled over for all of them. I vaguely remember seeing a police documentary where they would set the "ticket-able offense" speed limit quite high just to give benefit of the doubt to drivers. They could feasibly stop anyone who was going 1mph over the limit, but they were happy to give them a solid margin on that one.
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    I can't imagine anyone getting a ticket for driving that wasn't pretty outrageous.
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    (Original post by Hopple)
    I know, but it's obvious that more people are going to be pulled over and fined than pulled over and summoned to court because it is less effort for cops, so the level of discretion which people will have gotten used to will decrease. My question is, what is the standard of driving that won't get you pulled over? "Move into the left lane when safe" isn't exactly as clear as "Don't go above 70".
    The law states that careless and inconsiderate driving is committed when driving "falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver "driving without reasonable consideration for other persons only if those persons are inconvenienced by his driving."

    That's all the wording is to it, so it's up to a police officer or judge to decide whether or not the actions meet the definition or not.
 
 
 
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