Almost 10,000 vehicles have been caught tailgating in the first two weeks of new cameras being tested to clamp down on the offence.
Highways England and police have joined forces to tackle the offence which is a factor in around one in eight casualties on England’s motorways and major A roads.
Soon, motorists caught tailgating can expect to receive letters advising them they were too close to another vehicle and highlighting the dangers of not leaving safe braking distances.
The clear message – stay safe, stay back! – comes as new footage shows the reality of tailgating.
Highways England’s Head of Road Safety Jeremy Philips said, “These new cameras have, sadly, highlighted just how many people are driving too close on our roads.
“We understand that most tailgating is unintentional by drivers who are simply unaware they are dangerously invading someone else’s space. But not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle in front can be very frightening and intimidating – it could also prove fatal.
“We are trialling the new cameras to make drivers aware of their behaviour and encourage better driving. We are also using the Space Invader video game character as a quick reminder to drivers of the risks of tailgating. Our message is simple – Don’t be a Space Invader, Stay safe, stay back.”
More than 130 people killed or seriously injured in incidents involving people driving too close in 2018.
A survey for Highways England found that while more than a quarter of drivers admitted to tailgating, nearly nine in 10 people say they have either been tailgated or seen it.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said, “When people think of the causes of road accidents, tailgating probably isn’t one of them, but it’s one that can have dangerous repercussions. Highways England’s innovative plans are already showing how serious and reckless this behaviour is, and through this campaign I hope we see tailgating drop, making our roads, already some of the safest in the world, safer still.”
Highways England has been working with AECOM on the cameras.