Those caught will receive letters in the post.

Almost 10,000 drivers have been caught tailgating in just two weeks as part of a new camera-based crackdown on UK roads. Highways England, the government-run organisation in charge of the country’s motorways and A-roads, has joined forces with police to “tackle” the problem.

Those who have been spotted on camera can expect to receive a letter in the post, advising them they were too close to the vehicle in front. The letter will also highlight the dangers of tailgating – a habit that contributes to one in eight casualties on the strategic road network, according to Highways England.

The organisation says more than 130 people were killed or seriously injured in incidents involving people driving too close in 2018. And a survey for Highways England found more than a quarter of drivers admit to tailgating, yet nearly nine in 10 people say they have either been tailgated or seen it occur on the road.

“These new cameras have, sadly, highlighted just how many people are driving too close on our roads,” said Highways England’s head or road safety, Jeremy Philips. “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.”

New stats show tailgating is bad, to the surprise of no one

Meanwhile PC Dave Lee, of Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team, which is supporting the camera trial, said the crackdown was necessary because tailgating is “extremely dangerous behaviour”.

“Motorists who experience tailgating can often feel intimidated and put under pressure to increase their speed in a bid to create more space between them and the offending vehicle,” he said. “However, we have seen first-hand the devastating consequences which tailgating can cause. People who carry out this extremely dangerous behaviour are not just putting themselves at risk, but the lives of other road users.

“Reducing the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our county’s road network remains a policing priority for the Force, which is why it is important to work with our partners on such campaigns in a bid to save lives by making our roads safer.”

M25 London Orbital Motorway near Junction 18 in Hertfordshire UK