The new law, which was implemented in July this year, gives the police the right to stop anyone considered to be driving in an inconsiderate or careless manner and issue them with a fixed penalty notice (FPN).
The Department for Transport (DfT) intend to increase safety on the roads with the new law – in 2011, there were 587 deaths as a result of either excessive speed or mobile phone use whilst driving.
What the police might consider to be careless or inconsiderate may be a slight bone of contention, careless driving is characterised as when the standard of driving falls below that expected of a competent and careful driver, and inconsiderate driving is where a motorist is found to be driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.
A potential issue that could arise is that drivers could find themselves in a situation where they feel they must accept an FPN even when they believe themselves to have done nothing wrong. This is because getting time off work to attend court may be difficult, and the likelihood of more penalty points if their appeal is rejected.
The DfT hope that road safety will improve as motorists drive more carefully due to fear of on-the-spot fines. Detection is largely dependant on police presence and with dwindling police numbers, perhaps the effectiveness of the scheme is in doubt.