Highways England has stated that motorists are likely to start picking up fines for ignoring lane closures on smart motorways from spring 2018 (RAC).
In a document seen by the Press Association, and reported on the RAC newsfeed, Highways England reveals it is testing roadside cameras which detect drivers who flout the instructions given by red X signs on overhead gantries.
Highways England expects to be able to legally enforce the practice within the next three months, with the RAC anticipating a similar penalty to that handed out for running a red light – £100 and three penalty points.
According to the RAC news report, Highways England has sent out around 80,000 letters of warning to motorists who have broken smart motorway rules since December 2016. At least a third of these relate to driving in closed lanes.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, has warned the extra capacity is “a welcome move, only so long as it can be delivered safely”.
He said: “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.”
A Highways England spokesman said: “Safety is at the heart of everything we do and our roads are among the safest in the world. We close lanes for a reason and drivers ignoring red Xs puts them and others at risk.
“Since we started issuing warning letters we have seen a decrease in the number of drivers ignoring lane closures.”