Motorway stockBen Birchall/PA WIRE

Tailgating and lane hogging are bad habits that drive the nation mad; you can't drive on the motorway without seeing one or the other. However, new official figures suggest that few motorists are being penalised for these potentially dangerous driving practices.

Statistics obtained by The Telegraph found only 17 out of 43 of the UK's police forces could quantify how many drivers had been fined for these specific offences, and of those only 54 drivers had been penalised for tailgating since the introduction of greater police powers to deal with offenders.

When it comes to lane hogging, a total of 205 'lane discipline' offences were recorded but only 21 of these were specific cases of hogging the middle lane.

In August, police were given the authority to issue on the spot fines of £100 and three penalty points if a person' driving was deemed "careless". At the time the Police Federation warned that this would be unenforceable due to policing cutbacks and the figures reflect this.

Edmund King, president of the AA, reinforced this to The Telegraph, stating: "We don't have as many cops in cars as we used to have and whereas offences such as speeding can be picked up by a camera, there is no technology out there that can pick up tailgating or middle lane offences.

"These figures are disappointing since we know that tailgating in particular is a dangerous practice and happens all the time, but on the other hand we understand police forces have been cut and there aren't as many patrols out there as there were ten years ago."

Rebecca Chaplin