Tailgating – a serious problem

Driving too close to the vehicle in front is dangerous, intimidating and causes accidents, especially when driving at speed.

Tailgating is a factor in 1 in 8 casualties on the SRN and an offence of driving without due care and attention, carrying a minimum £100 fine and penalty points – and in some cases, more severe penalties or a court appearance.

Surveys show more than two thirds of people think tailgating is a serious problem, and that more can be done to tackle poor driver behaviour, with almost 80% agreeing that they would favour a clampdown on drivers who drive too close to the vehicle in front.

Tailgating – changing driver behaviour

Highways England have run previous trials with tailgating detection technology on the M3 (2017), M6 (2018) and M20 (2018-19) which demonstrated a lack of understanding, and high non-compliance amongst road users.

The trials picked up 273 offences per hour, equating to approximately 5% of all passing traffic. The behaviour was exhibited by all vehicle types, and proportional to the vehicle mix.

Highways England are conducting another on-road trial of close following detection technology, and issuing warning letters in partnership with Northamptonshire Police to identified offenders, in a bid to change driver behaviour and highlight the safety risks of tailgating.

By effectively communicating with our customers on the need to comply with mandatory and advisory requirements, and the safety benefits of doing so,we can contribute to improved safety.

Space Invader Campaign

This trial supports Highways England recent and ongoing Space Invader Campaign, launched in September 2020.

 “We’ve got used to social distancing during the pandemic. Now we’re reminding you to also keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Good drivers leave plenty of safe space for themselves and others. But driving too close is dangerous, can be intimidating, and can cause collisions that could be avoided. We want everyone to travel safely, so we can all get home safe and well. Our advice is simple: stay safe, stay back.”

Mark Byard, Director of Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Highways England

Highways England has created resources to help drivers including a web page at https://highwaysengland.co.uk/road-safety/stay-safe-stay-back/ and an information leaflet. Please share both with your drivers.


Simon Turner

Simon Turner
Campaign Manager
Driving for Better Business

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