A freedom of information investigation has discovered that just 135 on-the-spot fines have been dished out for lane hogging since police were given new powers to prosecute at the roadside in 2013.
The law was introduced in August 2013, giving police officers the power to fine motorists £100 and hit them with three points on their licence for sitting in the middle lane of the motorway.
Confusingly, of the 45 police forces questioned about the penalties, only 8 were able to give an exact number of lane hoggers they’ve prosecuted – the rest simply classed it as ‘careless driving’.
This offence also covers things like tailgating, undertaking and even driving too slowly – with 1,158 drivers hit with fines for careless driving since 2013. This means the real number of lane hogging fines could be higher, but it still means that only a few hundred lane hoggers are caught each year on average.
The investigation, carried out by Confused.com, mirrors a similar investigation by Motoring Research in 2014 – which found that police on London’s orbital motorway, the M25, dished out just 13 lane hogging fines in the first year since the law was introduced.
Confused.com’s motoring editor, Amanda Stretton, said: “Middle lanes aren’t for coasting in, because this practice can cause congestion and dangerous manoeuvres from other drivers. Not only could you find yourself with a £100 fine or points, but you could put your own life and others at risk.”
Research by the website found that almost one in five (19%) drivers say they have never been taught about middle-lane hogging – as motorways are not included in the practical driving test.
This could help explain why 50% of motorists believe that some drivers aren’t even aware that they’re staying put in the middle lane in the first place.
Worryingly, almost two-fifths (37%) of UK drivers are unaware that middle-lane hogging is an offence punishable by a fine and points on your licence.