Michael Fabricant, a frequent motorway user between Lichfield and
Westminster, is fed up with motorists who hog the middle lane – and the
"On a three lane motorway, or wider, the left lane is for normal driving and
the middle lane is meant for overtaking only. The outside lane should only
be used for overtaking those who are in the middle lane who should, in turn,
be overtaking those in the left lane." says Michael Fabricant. "Yet time
and time again, motorists abuse the middle lane by driving down it even
though there are no cars in the inside left lane. This causes good
motorists to have to sweep out from the left lane, out into the third lane,
then back into the left lane.
"And far more seriously, hogging the middle lane causes unnecessary
congestion and accidents".
Michael Fabricant has asked the Department of Transport whether any research
has been conducted into bad lane practice, but David Jamieson, Roads
Minister, has answered: ‘no’. But Mr Jamieson goes on to say "In order to
produce meaningful results, a survey into lane usage would need to be widely
based and would be labour intensive and costly. My Department is working to
improve lane discipline and to reduce the annoyance that poor lane
When he was then asked by Michael Fabricant if the Transport Department will
run a campaign to educate motorists on when to use overtaking lanes, David
Jamieson replied "Poor lane discipline does cause annoyance and can reduce
road capacity. We are working to improve lane discipline. It is safe driving
practice for vehicles using motorways to keep in the left-hand lane unless
overtaking, and this advice is reflected in the Highway Code and the Driving
Manual. The Theory Test includes questions on motorway lane discipline and
the Department produces a leaflet, ‘A Guide to Safer Motorway Driving’.
Police motorway patrols can, where they think appropriate, pull up motorists
for poor lane discipline, and indeed can prosecute where the motorist’s
behaviour amounts to inconsiderate driving.
"Also, the Highways Agency is currently exploring the possibility of using
the variable message signs on motorways (VMS) to encourage lane discipline,
alongside their present use for early warning to motorists about traffic
queues ahead and advice on diversion routes. We will keep the issue under
review, and will further strengthen the actions described, and reshape our
information programmes as required" David Jamieson adds.
Michael Fabricant says: "I am delighted that the roads minister takes this
matter seriously. I hope that other road users will take note! Now that
the M6 Toll runs close to Lichfield, more motorists are using the motorway
system from our area than ever before."