New automatic fines for motorists on smart motorways to come into force from June

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Motorists who drive in closed lanes on smart motorways will soon be liable for an automatic £100 fine and three penalty points (PA)

Motorists will face an automatic £100 fine and three penalty points for driving in the wrong lane of a smart motorway from June.

Currently motorists who drive in closed lanes are only fined if they are caught by an officer at the time of the offence.

But from early as next month, police will be given powers to punish drivers caught on traffic cameras ignoring red X signs.

The new Home Office legislation comes into force on June 10.

Motorists will be liable under the new law from as early as June (GETTY)

Hundreds of miles of motorways across England have been converted into smart motorways - meaning the hard shoulder is used as either a permanent or part-time running lane.

Red Xs are used to indicate when a lane is closed, such as when a vehicle has broken down away from emergency lay-bys.

Motoring groups have warned that smart motorways create a safety risk as vehicles that break down in live lanes risk being hit from behind.

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AA president Edmund King said the use of cameras to catch offenders is a ‘welcome measure to improve safety’.

Mr King said: ‘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.

Motion blurred photograph of traffic at in night in the rain on a British motorway with police officer and car

‘We have had several incidents recently where AA members’ cars have been hit in a live lane on smart motorways.’

Highways England has issued more than 180,000 warning letters to drivers who have ignored red X signs since the beginning of 2017.

Under Smart Motorway rules, the remaining lanes are subject to variable speed limits, that are displayed on overhead gantries and enforced by speed cameras.

If no speed limit is displayed, then the national speed limit is in place.

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