UK & World News
Middle Lane Hogging Rife Despite Fine Threat
A year since laws were brought in to stop motorists hogging the middle lane, more than half of drivers admit they still do it.
New research has found 52% of motorists know that middle lane hogging is illegal.
Yet despite this, 59% owned up to staying in the central lane, rather than just using it for overtaking, with those aged 65 and over being the worst offenders.
The South East of England was also found to be the country's middle lane hot spot, with the M4 near Slough having the highest incidence of hogging.
The analysis came from traffic flow data from nearly 6,500 sites on the Highways Agency motorway network and the insurance firm Direct Line.
The most common reason for why people drove in the middle lane was because it is an easier way to drive on motorways because it saves changing lanes.
Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line said: "Lane hogging causes congestion, reduces the capacity of the roads, and most crucially, can be dangerous.
"It is also illegal which means drivers could face a £100 on-the-spot fine and three points on their licence if caught.
"Motorists are risking their own safety and the safety of other road users through their actions so we'd urge them to be aware of the other lanes and drivers around them when on the road.
"If the inside lane has space, you should move into it."
Benjamin Heydecker, Professor of Transport Studies at University College London, fears that as well as adding to congestion and accidents, middle lane hogging is also a sign that people are driving around in a dream.
Prof Heydecker said: "Annoying other drivers is a bad idea, it doesn't add to road safety, but also I'm concerned that the drivers that are holding the middle lane aren't engaged in the driving task and that's bad for safety."
In August 2013 the Government introduced new careless driving laws to curb lane hogging and tailgating; those caught by police now face a £100 fine and points on their licence.
There are currently no nationwide figures for the number of people pulled over for lane hogging, but the Department for Transport told Sky News they intend to undertake research to examine how effective the introduction of careless driving as a fixed penalty offence has been.