Motorway driving lessons are the way forward
New penalties for inconsiderate driving have been introduced this month.
The police can now issue on-the-spot fines for practices such as tailgating and hogging the middle or outside lane on motorways.
The change in the law means that many more drivers are likely to be punished for their carelessness and anti social driving.
Fines don't tackle bad driving
Until now, police have had to pursue cases such as these through the courts.
The bureaucracy involved is thought to have acted as a significant deterrent to prosecuting offenders.
Most motorists appear to have welcomed the idea of these fines, perhaps seeing others as annoying offenders but perhaps blinkered to their own driving habits.
A recent experienced driver admitted to a speeding offence, that is 78mph on a motorway and in the same sentence suggested they were not a unsafe driver.
It seems the majority of people who use Britain's motorways regularly will be glad that action is more likely to be taken against drivers who make these roads less safe.
But these instant penalties are only really likely to scratch the surface of this problem.
So are motorway lessons the key
I would argue that one of the main reasons so many people drive badly on the motorways is that they have never been taught to drive well.
Learners still aren't allowed on to motorways before they have got their licence.
And while the theory part of the driving test does cover motorway regulations, this is clearly no substitute for real-life experience.
If you look at middle-lane hogs, for example, this appears to be a clear case of someone failing to understand how a motorway works.
The Highway Code on motorways
The Highway Code states: "You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear.
"If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past."
So why do so many people fail to adhere to this simple rule?
This could simply be an inherent observation of older peers and family that pass on incorrect information. Commonly, people suggest the left lane is for slow drivers, the middle lane is for normal driving and the extreme right lane for overtaking.
Clearly, according to the Highway Code this is incorrect, as noted earlier .
You could argue that each middle-lane driver represents a failure of our training system, they simply don't know any better and don't realise the problems they are creating for others.
The same might perhaps be said of tailgating drivers.
If all your driving lessons have taken place on slow city roads, you may not appreciate the extra distance you need to leave when travelling at high speeds.
Learners not allowed on motorways
In 2011, the government announced plans to let learner drivers use motorways in 2012 provided they were accompanied by a qualified instructor.
However, to date, there is no sign yet of this law change being implemented.
There are of course practical problems in including motorways in the driving test.
The biggest obstacle would be the fact that a large part of the population lives nowhere near a motorway.
Learners in more remote areas would have little chance to practise three-lane driving, let alone include it in their test whilst those nearer may still find the cost or inconvenience , seems to out ways the obvious benefits.
New licence holders are often encouraged to book a couple of extra post-test lessons to get to grips with motorway driving, but only a limited amount of students do so.
Better driving standards
There is a chance, however, that driving standards may be improved by the new penalty regime.
Offenders will be able to avoid having points deducted from their licences by agreeing to attend remedial training courses.
Such training should make up for any earlier lack of education in these particular cases.
And for those who don't get caught?
All we can hope is that the threat of the £100 fine, and the publicity given to this new crackdown, will help them see the error of their ways.
What do you think?
Are compulsory motorway lessons the way to tackle bad driving?
We want to hear from you! You can share your views on the message board below.
No Comments posted yet