Motorists in the UK will soon be fined for ignoring a rule on smart motorways. If a driver fails to abide by the ‘X’ warnings on electronic motorway gantries they can be fined £100 and issued with three penalty points.
On smart motorways, there are overhead gantries which display electronic warnings and information to drivers to inform them of certain rules on the road. Typically they will show the speed limit of that road or what the limit has been reduced to during congestion but there can also be lane closures displayed on these gantries.
A lane closure will be marked by a red X symbol and drivers must not drive down that lane or risk fine.
Lanes are closed on smart motorways typical if there has been an accident allowing police and emergency services to get there more quickly.
Lanes can also be closed if there are roadworks or if another lane is not required.
Drivers who carry on travelling down the lane marked by a red X will be fined from June this year.
Similarly, motorists mistaking a lane closure as the hard shoulder will also face the punishment.
From June 10th drivers will be to be automatically issued Fixed Penalty Notices if they are caught flouting the rules.
The rules will be enforced by new motorway cameras which will automatically issue the fines.
Edmund King, AA president says; “Although it has taken far too long, this is a welcome measure to improve safety on motorways.
“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 X’s are put up to warn of an obstruction, so drivers must get out of the lane when they see them.
"We have had several incidents recently where AA members’ cars have been hit in a live lane on ‘smart’ motorways.”
Neil Greig, Policy and Research Director at IAM RoadSmart said: “Smart motorways only work if all drivers understand what they do and act on the special signs and speed limits that they show.
"A red 'X' has the same meaning as a red stop light on a standard traffic light and needs to be treated like that.
"There is no leeway to allow you to ‘nip up’ the empty lane just to check what’s happening – red 'X' means get out of the lane now.”