Fine to be introduced for driving in closed lanes

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Published on 13 January 2018 by Robert Drane

With English roads among the safest in the world, there may soon be a new nationwide addition to the motorway rulebook.

An announcement directly from Highways England warns that motorists may soon be fined for ignoring the big red crosses above closed lanes on smart motorways. They are currently in testing phase before rolling out the new fine.

It is expected fines will start to be enforced from Spring 2018, when Highways England can begin to legally hand out penalties similar to that of running a red light – £100 and three penalty points on your licence.

RAC report that roughly 80,000 letters of warning have already been dispatched by Highways England to caution those who have been recorded (using Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology) breaking smart motorway rules since December 2016. A third of those letters were for driving in lanes marked as closed with a large, red cross, which Highways England reports has already caused a reduction in the number of drivers using closed lanes – achieving a 97% non-repeat rate.

Director of the RAC Foundation, Steve Gooding, supports the new rule and is mainly concerned with its safe delivery: “We need to see a redoubling of communications by Highways England to leave no doubt in motorists’ minds as to what a red X sign means”.

The rule is being enforced to this extent as driving under lanes with red cross signs on gantries is a major safety issue, according to Highways England operations mananger Rob Beckitt: “By ignoring these signs and continuing to drive in the lanes, you are putting yourself and everybody else at risk of danger. Hopefully our initiative will raise awareness of the red X sign, and protect people driving and working on our motorways.”

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