Drivers caught offending on smart motorways in England could be offered re-education courses, the National Police Chief’s Council has suggested.
Reported by the BBC today (10 Jan), the NPCC says it wants to create more awareness of the rules relating to smart motorways, and improve compliance with them.
Ideas under consideration include courses for people who break the variable speed limit, use lanes closed with a red X or use the hard shoulder when it has been closed.
Smart motorways operate variable speed limits and can open the hard shoulder to traffic to reduce congestion. There are currently more than 200 miles of smart motorway in England and Wales with another 200 miles either planned or currently under construction.
Figures obtained by BBC Radio 5live suggest an 18% rise in the number of people caught using the hard shoulder illegally between 2014-15 and 2015-16. In the last financial year there were 1,014 tickets issued by the 38 forces who responded to a freedom of information request, compared with 859 for the previous year.
Suzette Davenport, NPCC lead for roads policing, told the BBC that re-education courses would help motorists who are confused about when to use the hard shoulder as an extra lane.
Ms Davenport said: “We don’t have national driver offender retraining courses for the motorways. So if you get caught on the motorway you are going to get a ticket.
“Whereas we have about one million people a year on other road networks who are being caught driving and are going on national offender retraining. So we’ve been talking to Highways England about developing a course.
“The courses are based on academic rigour and research to make sure we are looking at the right attitudinal things so we are hopefully affecting people’s behaviour not just as they walk out of the classroom, but for some time to come."
Photo: Highways England via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.
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