Highways England will be able to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to offenders
Highways England have finally been granted permission to use cameras to help them catch drivers who think it’s okay to ignore motorway red X signs and as punishment, offending drivers will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).
From June this year, cameras will be in force on motorway lanes closed by a red X sign.
The Home Office legislation will come into effect on 10 June and will enable Highways England to use cameras that will automatically issue FPNs to offenders who think it’s okay to ignore the red X sign which is displayed overhead on a motorway gantry for everyone to see.
Drivers caught by these cameras could be issued with a fine of up to £100 as well as receiving three penalty points.
Currently, the only way in which a driver can be punished for ignoring a red X sign, is if they’re caught doing so by a police officer who can issue an FPN to the offender, however as there’s been a dramatic fall in the number of actual road traffic officers on UK roads, most offenders are simply getting away with it.
Since the start of 2017, Highways England have sent out over 180,000 warning letters to offending drivers in a bid to tackle the problem.
It will be the police force where the red X sign breach took place that will issue the FPN under the new camera enforcement system, the same as currently happens when a driver is caught for speeding.
“Our motorways are already among the safest in the world but this move will make them even safer,” said Mike Wilson, chief highways engineer at Highways England.
Motorway red X signs displayed over a closed lane inform drivers that there could dangers up ahead and whilst most drivers move out of the lane and stay out of the lane, too many drivers think it’s okay to ignore the red X sign, putting themselves and other road users in danger.
“Although it has taken far too long, this is a welcome measure to improve safety on motorways,” said AA president, Edmund King.
According to AA research, one in 20 drivers still drive down red X lanes despite having seen the information being displayed from the gantry.
In September 2018, the AA surveyed 20,569 motorists and according to their data, around 5% of drivers still drive down red X lanes even though they’ve seen it being displayed.
Furthermore, in March of this year the RAC surveyed 2,093 drivers, with 23% confessing to ignoring motorway red X signs, either purposefully or by accident.
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