Tailgating drivers are putting lives at risk on a stretch of Leeds motorway more than anywhere else in the country, research has revealed.
A study analysing traffic flow data from nearly 6,500 sites on Highways Agency motorways found that the M1 southbound around junction 47 near Garforth had the highest number of tailgating vehicles in England.
West Yorkshire Police (WYP) has reacted by pledging to prosecute any motorist caught breaking the law, while the Mid Yorkshire Advanced Motorists (MYAM) group has called for more education to prevent ‘close following’ which is adjudged to cost the UK between £4.2m and £12.6m every year through related congestion alone.
It is thought over 1,700 injuries on Highways Agency roads are caused by drivers ignoring the recommended two-second gap with the car in front, with around five deaths, every year.
Bob Farish, of MYAM which trains people in skills such as motorway driving, feels congestion on the M1 could well be hitting Leeds’ local economy.
“When there is a crash and they close the motorway the affect is so wide ranging that it’s bound to have an affect. It will have an impact on the traffic going in and out of the city,” he said. “The thing that’s needed is more education, that’s the difference.”
The Highways Agency says it has been working hard to publicise the risk of tailgating through the media and ‘keep your distance’ notices on signs on the M1.
Simon Sheldon-Wilson, traffic management director for the organisation, said: “Safety is our top priority and we are committed to continuing to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.”
Warning that any motorist caught breaking the law can expect to be prosecuted, Sergeant Adrian Newman, from WYP’s Roads Policing Unit, said leaving space for vehicles “should be second nature to all drivers”.
Rob Miles, from Direct Line, added: “Drive too closely at speed and motorists risk not only their own life but other road users’ lives too.”