Almost 10,000 drivers were caught tailgating other vehicles during a trial of new traffic cameras on England’s motorways.
Police and Highways England have begun testing new cameras which can detect vehicles driving too close to the vehicle in front as part of a crackdown on the dangerous behaviour.
Driving too close to other vehicles is a factor in one in eight casualties on England’s motorways and A roads, and contributed to more than 130 deaths or serious injuries in 2018.
Drivers caught by the new cameras will receive a warning letter highlighting the dangers of not leaving enough braking space, but will not be prosecuted.
Driving too close is a factor in one in eight of all casualties on England's trunk roads (Photo: Shutterstock)
Highways England’s had of road safety Jeremy Philips said the current campaign was intended to make drivers more aware of the dangers of tailgating.
He 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. We are also using the Space Invader video game character as a quick reminder to drivers of the risks of tailgating. Our message is simple – Don’t be a Space Invader, Stay safe, stay back.”
The Highway Code says to leave at least a two-second gap to the vehicle in front in good weather conditions and to extend this in poor conditions. Drivers caught tailgating could be charged with driving without due care and attention, which carries a minimum fine of £100 and three penalty points.
Pc Dave Lee of Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team which is supporting the trial, said: “Motorists who experience tailgating can often feel intimidated and put under pressure to increase their speed in a bid to create more space between them and the offending vehicle.
“However, we have 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.
“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.”