The nation's fleet managers must always do everything in their power to make sure drivers are operating company vehicles in a safe and proper manner. There is a lot to consider in this arena. Now, a recent conviction in West Yorkshire gives fleet managers something new to think about as they seek to comply with the law: lane hogging.
Fleet News UK reports that a van driver was pulled over by police on the M62 in West Yorkshire after refusing to yield the middle lane of the motorway. Rather than pulling over to the left at the first available opportunity, the van driver continued in the middle lane, resulting in numerous cars having to break and overtake. Police say the resulting congestion created a dangerous situation that could have been avoided by the van driver.
Magistrates Court apparently agreed, convicting the man of lane hogging in what appears to be the first such conviction of its kind in the UK. The unidentified van driver was given five penalty points and fines totalling nearly £1,000. It did not help the driver's case when he did not show up for his court appearance.
It has been suggested that spot fines of up to £100 is enough to deter most drivers from lane hogging. But apparently not all of them. It will be interesting to see whether the police become more aggressive in pulling over lane hogging drivers with a successful court case now on the books. If so, it could present an interesting situation for fleet managers and their drivers. We could potentially see the number of spot fines being issued increase because car drivers are now more willing to report lane hogging vans and LGVs.
Fleet Manager's Perspective
Fleet managers can choose to look at the recent conviction as a point of amusement accompanied by hopes that their drivers are never pulled over for the same offence. However, it would behove them to pay attention to at least two things. First, the abolishment of the paper driving licence means that employers now have to use other means of checking penalty points in order to make sure drivers are still suitable to be behind the wheels of company vehicles. Second is the matter of training.
If police become more aggressive about enforcing lane-hogging restrictions, drivers need to be made aware of their obligations under the law. It would be foolish to subject oneself and one's employer to fines for something seemingly so trivial.
As for the licence checking issue, we know the government is still working out all of the bugs in their new system. While they do so, Fleet Licence Check continues to offer reliable licence checking alongside our claims handling service. We have been in business serving our customers across the UK for more than 20 years. This includes thousands of annual licence checks. Save yourself the hassle; send the information and let us check licences for you.
1.Fleet News UK – http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/latest-news/2015/06/22/van-driver-fined-for-hogging-motorway-middle-lane