Victoria’s motoring club has warned motorists about the dangers of tailgating as the risky act is on the rise.
Data obtained from Victoria Police and published by the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) shows that over the 2018-22 period, 10,000 fines were issued to drivers for committing the offence.
Currently the penalty in Victoria for tailgating is a $248 fine and one demerit point.
2018 saw the highest number of tailgating offences during this period with 2396 drivers fined, while 2020 showed the smallest number of fines – 1772 offences – due largely to COVID-19 lockdowns. Since then the number of offences has gradually crept up.
According to the RACV, 41 per cent of collision claims filed with it are as a result of a rear-end collision that could have been due to a variety of reasons, including “tailgating, the front driver not braking in time or the rear driver accidentally pressing on the accelerator”.
Based on figures from Victoria Police, last year 2108 drivers were fined as a result of tailgating in the state, which was an increase of five per cent from 2021 (2001 fines).
“Keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you isn’t just a safe driving technique, it’s required by law, although a ‘sufficient distance’ can change depending on the road conditions and circumstance, it is recommended to keep at least a two-second gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front,” said Sam Lynch, RACV policy lead for road safety.
“In addition to the obvious safety reasons, motorists should also remember that in the event of a collision, it is often the motorist who runs into the back of another vehicle that is at fault from an insurance perspective.
“Being tailgated can be intimidating and can divert the concentration of a motorist, resulting in collisions or leading to unsafe driving speeds.
“While some drivers may be tempted to box the tailgater in and even tap on your brakes to send a message, it’s simply never worth the risk to put yourself in harm’s way.
“RACV recommends that if you’re being tailgated or you’re uncomfortable with the proximity of the vehicle behind you, stay calm, maintain a safe speed, prioritise safety, focus on the road ahead and move over or let them pass when it’s safe to do so.”
For reference, we have included a list of other state penalties below:
- Australia Capital Territory: $420 fine and one demerit point
- New South Wales: $514 fine and three demerit points
- Queensland: $216 and two demerit points
- South Australia: $390 fine and one demerit point
- Tasmania: $181 fine and one demerit point
- Victoria: $248 fine and one demerit point
- Western Australia: $200 fine and two demerit points
This information is based on penalties and fines as of the time of publishing, and these may change in the future.
A spokesperson for Victoria Police told CarExpert that although not as many drivers were fined for the offence of failing to leave enough room when overtaking or for cutting in too soon, it still recorded 600 infringements between 2018 to 2022.