Highways England trials roadside technology on motorway to catch 'tailgating' motorists

Sam Dickerson

06 Jan 2021

26,000 drivers have been identified flouting the 2-second gap rule in the first two months of the trial.

New traffic monitoring cameras will be trialed on UK roads aiming to catch motorists who dangerously flout the 2-second gap rule to the vehicle in front.

The new technology will be used on the M1 in Northamptonshire, with plans to roll it out across the country if successful.

In a two-month trial of the cameras, it identified 26,000 tailgating cars, vans, trucks and buses, equivalent to 419 vehicles a day.

Highways England said that any vehicle that deliberately flouts the Highway Code's two-second minimum gap is deemed to be tailgating in the new system. The organisation said that they are not looking to prosecute drivers, but instead, want to drive-home the message to leave a safe gap between fellow vehicles.

Highways England’s Head of Road Safety Jeremy Philips said that aim of the new cameras is to 'make drivers aware of their behaviour and encourage better driving'. He added: '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. Tailgating is a factor in one in eight casualties on the strategic road network.' 

The cameras, developed by Aecom, operate in a similar manner to speed cameras by identifying number plates and then trying to ascertain whether the tailgating was by accident or deliberate. Highways England will utilise the data to see if the cameras and subsequent warning letters have a positive affect on driver behaviour.

Sam Dickerson

06 Jan 2021

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