Penalties for driving in UK motorway closed lanes to increase

Red XHighways England says drivers who ignore so-called ‘Red-X’ warnings on motorways will likely be facing stiffer penalties from March onwards. The Red-X on UK motorway gantries means the hard shoulder or indicated lane is closed.

At present, Highways England issues warnings to drivers spotted driving in Red-X flagged lanes. If the proposed legislation gets the green light, offenders will be given a fixed penalty fine of £100 plus three penalty points on their driving licences.

The Press Association notes that lane violation cameras for motorways are undergoing trials and will eventually be installed right across the UK. In the past year, around 25,000 motorists have been served with warnings as a result of disobeying Red-X no-entry alerts.

The Red-X is used on smart motorways. The UK’s smart motorway network is expanding and currently includes segments of the likes of the M6, the M4 and the M1. Highways England says drivers can utilise the hard shoulders of smart motorways unless Red-X warnings indicate they are closed.

The Red-X is usually posted up in the case of accidents or broken-down vehicles blocking the hard shoulder. Highways England explains that ignoring a Red-X closed lane is dangerous and the reason behind upping the ante with penalties.

Hinting that rules regarding the Red-X are ambiguous at best, RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said Highways England needed to issue clearly defined instructions. He added that the most effective rules are the ones nobody breaks because everyone knows and understands them.



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