Road users who ignore Red X signs on sections of smart motorways will soon face fines of £100 and three penalty points on their licences.
The Home Office has finally type-approved cameras to detect motorists who disregard the signs and continue to drive in closed lanes.
It is reported that police will get the enforcement powers from 10 June, but will only start handing out penalties from later in the summer.
Up to now, Highways England has been issuing warning letters to drivers who have ignored the regulations. According to The Times, 180,000 letters have been sent to errant drivers since the beginning of 2017. On the 300 miles of smart motorway, the hard shoulder is either opened temporarily to improve flow when traffic volumes increase or is converted into a permanent running lane with emergency refuges added to the side of the road to give drivers who breakdown somewhere to stop. Back in 2015 Highways England warned about the high level of misunderstanding amongst drivers about Red Xs: “Almost a third of road users do not know what to do when they see a Red X sign displayed, the Highways Agency’s 2014 National Road User Survey shows. Around one in twelve said they would stop if they saw a Red X.”