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Careless driving fines prompt change in drivers’ behaviour

However, although 29% say they have altered their behaviour, as many as 74% say they have not noticed a change in other drivers' habits.

Introduced last August, the new measures have allowed police to issue a fixed penalty notice for less serious examples of careless driving, such as tailgating and middle-lane hogging.

But the survey, involving 16,606 drivers, showed that only 12% had seen fewer examples of tailgating than a year ago, with only 11% seeing less lane-hogging.

Drivers in the north west of England have changed their habit the most (32%) and those in Scotland the least (26%)

As total of 82% said visible policing was the only way to change driver behaviour, but the results were split across the age groups, falling to just 66% of drivers aged 18-24 and rising to 85% of those over 65.

AA roads policy head Paul Watters said: ‘Careless driving has been an offence since the 1980s, but it was hoped that giving police the power to fine people for less serious examples of it would encourage drivers to change their behaviour, without clogging up the courts.

‘These results show that enforcement must be a priority if these green shoots of progress are to be maintained. Tailgating, middle-lane hogging and using a mobile phone at the wheel are the top pet hates of drivers.’

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, added: 'These fines were introduced to change the behaviour of drivers, which clearly has not happened in large numbers just yet. However, it was never going to happen overnight – so the jury is still out on careless driving as a fixed penalty offence. Time and time research shows that visible policing is the most valuable deterrent against careless driving.'

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.