Red X Highways EnglandDrivers ignoring red ‘X’ overhead motorway signs when using smart motorways are set to be fined £100 and given penalty points on their licence, The Times has discovered.

The penalties will be imposed on drivers who use the hard shoulder when it is closed for use by the overhead gantries. The move follows an earlier campaign that saw 50,000 motorists receive warning letters from Highways England for flouting smart motorway rules: a third of them were for ignoring red ‘X’ signs.

The RAC has welcomed the news. “Driving on a smart motorway lane that has been closed by a red ‘X’ sign is extremely dangerous. It is incredibly frustrating for law-abiding drivers to see others flouting red ‘X’ signs, and those ignoring them are a danger to themselves and others.

“It is right that offenders are punished with a substantial fine. The sooner the message gets through to motorists, the safer it will become for every motorway user.”

There have been growing concerns about motorists ignoring the rules on smart motorways: many drivers, reports The Times, simply refuse to heed the signs, only moving out of the lane at the very last moment.

This is unacceptable, said Williams. Although many motorists may not have experienced smart motorways in action, “the electronic signage on each section makes it very clear whether a lane is open or closed and what speed limit is applicable.”

The Department for Transport is expected to reveal details of the £100 fines and penalty points soon, prior to their expected introduction in early 2018.

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