The Sun article carries this graphic, which is quite useful.
Although it focuses on middle-lane hogs in the text (like everyone else does), the graphic makes it clear that the following examples of careless driving would also be included in the new legislation:
- bad lane discipline (which includes middle-lane hogging)
- not giving way at junctions
- wheel-spins and handbrake turns
- wrong lane on roundabout
- inappropriate speed
- overtaking and queue-jumping
- ignoring “lane closed” signs
Also, and in spite of what some of the other stories reported or implied, the changes do not specifically apply to motorways. They will apply to all roads.
The term “careless driving” encompasses “driving without due care and attention”. The definition is quite wide, but in a nutshell you’d be guilty of driving without due care and attention if the care and skills you demonstrated in an incident were less than that which could have been expected of a reasonable, prudent, and competent driver.
The media stories give the impression that someone somewhere has specifically decided to crack down on tailgating and lane-hogging (these feature in just about every media survey of peoples’ pet hates). In fact, what they have actually decided is that getting too close to the vehicle in front and poor lane discipline – both of which you could still be prosecuted for even now – will become manageable by FPNs. That’s where the police can slap you with a fine and 3 points by the roadside. Poor lane discipline in particular covers more than just middle-lane hogging.
And it isn’t just those two things that will be included, either. People who drive dangerously through inattention, or just because they’re bad drivers, are also potentially walking a tightrope. Personally, I’ve lost count of the number of people who habitually get into the wrong lane at roundabouts and then – deliberately or otherwise – try to move across while they’re on it. Or those who cannot stay in position and cut across you (that’s an almost guaranteed test fail, and Mafie (reg. no. MAF1E, or MAF 1E) in her big-ass 4×4 on the Ring Road on Sunday should bear this in mind in future – not to mention what constitutes an illegal number plate).
Pulling out of junctions without looking properly is also on the hit list, as is showing off and driving too slowly.
Edit: Worth pointing out that I saw Mafie up to her old tricks again a few days ago (July 2013). She was on Bobbers Mill Road trying to do a U-turn across four lanes of traffic using a junction on the opposite side of the road to where she was. Absolutely no consideration for anyone except herself. She could easily have driven a few hundred metres and turned around safely – and much more quickly. This woman is incapable of driving safely – let alone of safely driving a huge 4×4.