Drivers face new fines and penalty points for ignoring smart motorway signs

From today, June 10th 2019, motorists who drive in closed lanes on smart motorways can automatically be handed a £100 fine and three penalty points

Smart motorways were introduced in the UK in 2006 on the M42 and are intended to increase capacity and reduce congestion at busy times by using the hard shoulder as a running lane and using variable speed limits to control traffic flow.

There are currently more than 20 sections of ‘smart motorway’ on seven different motorways across the UK.  Further details of current and planned sections can be found on the Highways England website:

On sections of Smart Motorways, red Xs are displayed on overhead gantries or on large signs on the verge of the carriageway to indicate a closed running lane due to an obstruction, normally due to an accident or broken down vehicle.

Up until today, motorists who drove in closed lanes were only fined if they were caught by an officer at the time of the offence but as from today, new Home Office legislation means that motorists who drive in closed lanes can automatically be handed a £100 fine and three penalty points.

This new legislation comes as a result of research showing that one in 20 drivers continue to drive in red X lanes even when they’ve seen it.  Drivers ignoring the red X signs risk encountering a stationary vehicle or a worker in their path and Highways England have already issued warning letters to over 180,000 drivers about their dangerous actions.

To help avoid incurring driving fines and penalty points, read our
factsheet which provides more information about Smart Motorways.