A bid to clamp down on tailgaters has netted almost 10,000 offenders in the first two weeks.
Highways England began testing a camera system across its road network in October 2020, recording motorists driving too close behind others.
The new tactics are being used to highlight the risks of what drivers are doing, and attempt to educate them appropriately.
Cutting casualties from tailgating is the overall aim. Over 130 people were killed or seriously injured by incidents involving driving too close in 2018.
Stay safe, stay back
Working in partnership with the police, drivers spotted tailgating by Highways England cameras will receive a letter in the post. The organisation is not looking to prosecute drivers, but instead wants to reinforce the message to leave a gap between vehicles.
Highways England’s Head of Road Safety, Jeremy Philips, commented that the cameras are there to “make drivers aware of their behaviour and encourage better driving.”
The new cameras monitor drivers passing through a 150m stretch, and include the option to link multiple cameras together.
Footage can be used to differentiate deliberate tailgating from overtaking or sudden braking by other road users.
Don’t be a space invader
Highways England has highlighted the tailgating experience of one of its own data and intelligence analysts. Caroline Layton was driving through roadworks on the M27, when she was tailgated by an HGV.
Caroline explained that the HGV “came up really close, just a couple of metres behind” and all she could see in the rear-view mirror “was the lorry’s grille.” Caroline slowed down, due to fearing she would be “sandwiched in the middle” should a car in front brake suddenly.
The Highway Code reminds drivers to leave a two-second gap between them and other vehicles on faster roads, and to extend this in poor weather. Tailgating can lead to prosecution for driving without due care and attention, with a minimum £100 fine and three penalty points.
Despite this, a survey by Highways England found that more than 25 percent of drivers admitted to tailgating others.