Can Cameras Deter Tailgaters?

Sun 20th Dec 2020

A trial of new camera technology on the M1 could lead to tailgate offenders being find after being caught in action.

Cameras have been installed on a 150 metre section of the UK’s busiest motorway this year and in just two months identified 26,000 tailgating vehicles, the equivalent to 419 offenders a day.

Highways England have already sent warning letters to many offenders after the cameras identified number plates and measured the distances between vehicles. A statement to The Times from Highways England said the letters were.. “advising them they were too close to another vehicle and highlighting the dangers. The results will then be analysed to see if it does lead to a change in drivers’ behaviour and reduced incidents of tailgating.

“If successful, the cameras may be rolled out to other areas.”

According to Department for Transport figures there were 28 fatal and 599 serious crashes as a result of tailgating in 2019, up from the previous year total of 444. 

The Highway Code states that drivers must leave at least a two-second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front, a time period which is considerably longer distance when vehicles are travelling at 70mph on the motorways. Some major roadways actually have road markings warning drivers of safe distances.

Speaking in The Times article, Jeremy Phillips, Highways England head of road safety, said: “These new cameras have, sadly, highlighted just how many people are driving too close on our roads.

“We understand that most tailgating is unintentional by drivers who are simply unaware they are dangerously invading someone else’s space. But not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle in front can be very frightening and intimidating — it could also prove fatal.”