Huge new motorway driving law comes into force in less than a month

A new motorway law is being introduced into the UK which could see drivers land a fine for ignoring. From June 10th motorists that are caught ignoring lane closures on smart motorways will automatically be handed a £100 fine and three penalty points. On smart motorways, there are electronic gantries overhead which convey different information to motorists about the road ahead. For example, the speed limit is variable and different speeds can be conveyed along the motorway to ease congestion and improve the flow of traffic.

Another use of the gantry is to display whether or not a lane is closed or not.

A closed lane is marked with a red X and any driver caught driving along is when the sign is displayed will be instantly fined by one of the various cameras in operation.

Lane closures will be instated for a number of reasons such as allowing emergency service vehicles get to a crash more quickly.

Any motorist caught using the closed lane or indeed using it as the hard shoulder will be fined.

Highways England, which operates England’s motorways and major A-roads, has issued more than 180,000 warning letters to drivers who have ignored red X signs since the beginning of 2017.

Edmund King, AA president says; “Although it has taken far too long, this is a welcome measure to improve safety on motorways.

“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 X’s are put up to warn of an obstruction, so drivers must get out of the lane when they see them.

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

Highways England says that smart motorways use pioneering technology to:

  • monitor traffic levels
  • change the speed limit to smooth traffic flow, reduce frustrating stop-start driving and improve journey times
  • activate warning signs to alert you to traffic jams and hazards up ahead
  • close lanes – for example to allow emergency vehicles through