Drivers now face an automatic penalty by camera if they ignore red ‘X’ signs for closed lanes on smart motorways.
New legislation from the Home Office was brought in yesterday that lets Highways England use cameras on overhead gantries to automatically issue fixed penalty notices to motorists who ignore the signs and drive in the lanes, endangering themselves and others.
Offending drivers will have three points slapped on their licence and be fined up to £100.
Previously, they were only issued with a fixed penalty notice for ignoring a red ‘X’ sign if a police officer caught them in the act.
In March, an RAC survey of 2,093 motorists who had driven on a motorway in the past year found that more than a fifth of them had driven deliberately or by accident in a lane closed by a red ‘X’ sign. At the time, RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Smart motorways are now very much part of the fabric of England’s motorway network and will become even more commonplace in years to come with more being opened all the time.
“Red ‘X’ signs, which denote when lanes are closed, are paramount in safety terms, as any stricken driver who has not managed to reach an SOS area is at tremendous risk of being involved in a collision with vehicles that ignore them.”