SPEEDING fines are to increase to £100 from next month when new on-the-spot penalties for careless driving offences such as tailgating and hogging the middle or outer lanes are introduced.
The increase from £60 - the first since 2000 - will also cover using a hand-held mobile device while behind the wheel, and not wearing a seatbelt.
However, drivers both sides of the Border are expected to be offered re-training courses as an alternative to also having three penalty points added to their licences.
Other changes announced yesterday by UK road safety minister Stephen Hammond include fixed penalties for driving with no insurance going up from £200 to £300.
But the most serious cases of each offence will continue to go to court, where offenders may face higher penalties. Drivers will still be able to appeal any decision in court.
Police will also have the power to issue fines to drivers hogging the outside lanes of dual carriageways and two-lane motorways, such as most of those in Scotland.
Such offenders currently have to be prosecuted through the courts.
Mr Hammond said: “Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk. That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court.
“We are also increasing penalties for a range of driving offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences.”
AA president Edmund King said: “An increase in the standard motoring fixed penalty fine will help deter those who commit motoring offences including mobile phone use. AA members broadly support an increase in the level of the fixed penalty. Our members also fully support educational training as an alternative to penalty points.
“We are also pleased to see that at long last new powers and fines will be given to the police to tackle the top three pet hates of drivers - tailgaters, mobile phone abusers and middle-lane hogs.”
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Anti-social behaviour is as big a problem on the roads as it is in wider society. Giving police more discretion to act, and freeing up resources to allow them to do so by cutting procedural delays in court, is good news.
“We are also pleased to see that the stick is accompanied by the chance of re-education for moderate offenders.
“Raising the fine level to £100 is justifiable to tackle the plague of hand-held mobile phone use which slows drivers’ reaction times even more than being at the drink-drive limit or taking cannabis.”
Police Scotland head of road policing Superintendent Iain Murray said: “I would like to emphasise this announcement does not introduce a new offence, but rather provides an additional method for the police to deal with the existing offence of careless driving in the same way as we deal with speeding and other road traffic offences.
“The police may still choose to report offenders to the Procurator Fiscal should the offence be considered serious enough to merit this.
“Equally, offending motorists may choose to not accept the conditional offer of a fixed penalty, in which case, a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.”