Camera clampdown catches 10,000 tailgaters

Written by Sam Trendall on 4 November 2020 in News

Technology trial run by Highways England shows signs of success

Credit: PA

A trial of new cameras to clamp down on tailgaters have, in the space of two weeks, identified 10,000 motorists committing the offence.

Highways England has teamed up with various police forces to test the use of new technology on major roads. The trial is part of a wider government campaign to target an offence that it claims causes 130 deaths on the road each year.

The opening fortnight of the trial has shown just prevalent tailgating is, with almost 10,000 motorists caught in the act of driving too close to the vehicle in front – an offence which can be punished with a fine of £100 and three points on a driver’s licence.

Highways England’s head of road safety Jeremy Philips said: “These new cameras have, sadly, highlighted just how many people are driving too close on our roads. We understand that most tailgating is unintentional by drivers who are simply unaware they are dangerously invading someone else’s space. But not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle in front can be very frightening and intimidating – it could also prove fatal. We are trialling the new cameras to make drivers aware of their behaviour and encourage better driving.”

Highways England has worked with engineering firm AECOM on the installation of the cameras.

Roads minister Baroness Vere said: “When people think of the causes of road accidents, tailgating probably isn’t one of them, but it’s one that can have dangerous repercussions. Highways England’s innovative plans are already showing how serious and reckless this behaviour is, and through this campaign I hope we see tailgating drop, making our roads, already some of the safest in the world, safer still.”

Northamptonshire Police has been one of the forces supporting the trials. Dave Lee, an officer on the force’s Safer Roads team, said that his unit has “seen first-hand the devastating consequences which tailgating can cause”.

“People who carry out this extremely dangerous behaviour are not just putting themselves at risk, but the lives of other road users,” he added. “Reducing the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our county’s road network remains a policing priority for the force, which is why it is important to work with our partners on such campaigns in a bid to save lives by making our roads safer."


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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology


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