Fines and points for drivers who snub red ‘X’ signs

Fines and points for drivers who snub red ‘X’ signs
Motorists who ignore red ‘X’ signs above smart motorway lanes are to be given £100 fines and penalty points from early next year.

Highways officials will introduce the new system in response to the continued disregard of many drivers, incorrectly using stretches of road where the hard shoulder is removable.

Welcoming the new fines, the RAC says “the sooner the message gets through to motorists the safer it will become for every motorway user.”

READ MORE: Motorways ‘remain a mystery’ for many drivers

Red ‘X’ signs appear on the overhead gantries of several smart motorways across the UK, most prominently on parts of the M1, M4, M6, M25, M42 and M62.

In total around 250 miles of road have been transformed onto the new, smart system whereby extra space is created for vehicles via the replacement of the traditional hard shoulder with emergency lay-bys positioned 1.5 miles apart.

These zones themselves have caused confusion, prompting a trial to make emergency refuge areas bright orange. The number of lay-by areas is set to increase under Highways England’s strategy to give drivers added confidence on motorways.

More than 50,000 letters have been sent out to drivers informing them they have flouted rules by ignoring signs or variable speeds. But with the message seemingly failing to get through, fines and points will be imposed as penalties.

IN OTHER NEWS: Learner drivers offered motorway driving lessons from 2018

Simon Williams, spokesman for the RAC, reminds motorists that anyone driving in a smart motorway lane that has been closed by an ‘X’ sign is putting their life, and those of all other road users at risk.

“Despite the recent increase in the number of smart motorways, many motorists will inevitably not yet have had first-hand experience of using them,” he said. “However, the electronic signage on each section makes it very clear whether a lane is open or closed and what speed limit is applicable.

“It is incredibly frustrating for law-abiding drivers to see others flouting red ‘X’ signs, and those ignoring them are a danger to themselves and others so it is right that offenders are punished with a substantial fine.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.