Ignoring a ‘red X’ sign on a Smart Motorway could land you a £100 fine, with police granted use of camera evidence from today.
Beforehand, fines were only levied to drivers illegally using closed lanes if they were caught by an officer at the time of the offence.
Highways England has issued more than 180,000 warning letters to drivers who have actively ignored lane closures over the past three years.
The RAC welcomed the move, saying “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.”
“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.”
Many motorways across the UK have been made ‘smart’ with the installation of gantries and the opening of the hard shoulder as a working lane. The gantries can be used to slow traffic down or indeed close lanes, in order to keep stopped vehicles safe.
AA research has indicated that one in 20 drivers will remain in red ‘X’ lanes even after seeing that they are closed. The organisation has commended the use of cameras to improve safety.
“Red Xs are put up to warn of an obstruction, so drivers must get out of the lane when they see them,” said Edmund King, president of the AA.
“We have had several incidents recently where AA members’ cars have been hit in a live lane on smart motorways.”