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New highway cameras to target 'dangerous' tailgaters

By Tom Fraser, 06 Jan 2021 Car News

Tailgating study

A new trial by UK authorities sees tailgaters who flout the two-second rule caught out by cameras

New cameras that can detect whether a motorist is tailgating the car in front have been installed in a trial designed to crack down on this dangerous driving habit.

Highways England is running the trial on the M1 freeway in Northamptonshire before it’s rolled out across wider Britain. We wouldn’t put it past Australian state governments to install such cameras in years to come, either.

The cameras have already caught 26,000 drivers breaking the Highway Code, which indicates that motorists must leave a two-second gap between themselves and the leading car.

Much like the mobile phone camera trials that were held in New South Wales, motorists are being let off with a warning for now.

However, once the trial moves to its next stage, offending motorists can expect a £100 (AU$175) fine and the loss of three demerit points in the mail.

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Highways England’s Head of Road Safety Jeremy Philips hopes it won’t come to that, insisting that the trial is designed to make drivers more aware of their behaviour.

“These new cameras have, sadly, highlighted just how many people are driving too close on our roads,” Philips said.

“We understand that most tailgating is unintentional by drivers who are simply unaware they are dangerously invading someone else’s space.

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“But not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle in front can be very frightening and intimidating — it could also prove fatal.”

The cameras are installed on a 150-metre stretch of the M1 freeway and use number plate-identifying tech to decide whether the driver is intentionally tailgating, or is doing it accidentally.

According to Highways England, rates of serious crashes involving tailgating have jumped to their highest point in over seven years and is a factor in one-in-eight casualties on the British road network.

Would you support the tailgater cameras being installed on Australian roads?