Drivers who ignore closed lanes on smart motorways could be automatically fined and receive points on their licence from next week
Smart motorways cover large stretches of major routes such as the M1, M6 and M25 motorways. They aim to ease congestion through being closely monitored and featuring variable speed limits, which are enforced through speed cameras.
But from June 10, police will also be cracking down on motorists who defy the overhead red ‘X’ signs signalling when a lane is closed, which is often for an incident or a broken-down vehicle. These are clearly marked on gantries, often with prior notice that drivers should change lanes well ahead of the ‘X’ signs.
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Under new Home Office legislation, the cameras will be able to automatically issue a £100 fine and three points on a driver’s licence for anyone ignoring the closed lanes. Drivers can already be issued with a fine, but only if they are caught by a police officer at the time of the offence.
AA president Edmund King said the use of cameras to catch offenders is a “welcome measure to improve safety”.
He went on: “Our research shows that one in 20 drivers continue to drive in red X lanes even when they’ve seen it, and so far Highways England have written warning letters to over 180,000 drivers about their actions.
“Red Xs are put up to warn of an obstruction, so drivers must get out of the lane when they see them.”