With the usual fanfare, the Transport department has recently announced a new fixed penalty for so-called tailgating. In practice however, with so many grey areas the new law may prove very difficult to enforce.
For a start, how close is too close? Who decides? How can the gap be measured? Surely it depends on speed. If so, will that have to be measured at the same time as well? Do cars without ABS need to leave even more space? What happens if you leave a sensible gap but someone else cuts in and reduces it? How will a police officer following be able to measure the gap between you and the car in front?
These and other issues will make enforcement in practice very difficult and probably explain why although tailgating has always been an offence, there have in the past been few prosecutions. Whether this changes, remains to be seen. If and when the police begin issuing fixed penalties, I can foresee quite a few challenges.
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