Don't ignore motorway red X signs
Drivers who ignore lane closure signs on smart motorways in England will be issued with automatic £100 fines and penalty points from today (Monday 10 June).
A closed lane on smart motorway is indicated by a 'Red X' displayed on an electronic overhead gantry and instructs motorists to move to another lane that's running normally to avoid an incident ahead.
A recent survey suggests more than a fifth of drivers have been ignoring closed lane warnings until now, which is one of the reasons for the introduction of penalties confirmed by the Home Office.
Hundreds of miles of England's motorways have been converted into 'smart' routes since 2006.
As a result, these motorways can use the hard shoulder as either a permanent or part-time traffic lane, depending on which type of smart motorway format it is.
With the potential of no hard shoulder being available for vehicles that have broken down or been involved in a collision, one or more lanes can be closed by operators to safeguard the stricken motorists.
Closed lanes are indicated by the red X sign on the overhead gantries, which also tell motorists if a variable speed limit is being enforced.
While it is illegal for motorists to use a closed smart motorway lane, until now police have had to catch people in the act.
It found that 23 per cent of drivers have ignored a red X sign in the past year and continued to use a lane even when they were told it was closed.
Under new Home Office legislation introduced from this week, police have now been granted the power to penalise drivers captured by ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) traffic cameras ignoring the instruction to not use the closed lane.
In addition to a fine, offenders will have three penalty points added to their licence.