New cameras are being installed along UK motorways to catch drivers using the wrong motorway lane. If caught on camera, drivers will face an automatic £100 fine, as well as the risk of three points on their licence.
The changes will apply to those using motorway shut lanes. These are marked with a red ‘X’ above the lane; the dynamic signs are often used on smart motorways to open and close lanes during busy periods, or to signal a breakdown or accident.
In a Twitter Post, National Highways relayed the message in full force, advising drivers that ‘There’s no eXcuse – don’t ignore the red X. It’s illegal to drive in a red X lane and motorway cameras can now automatically detect drivers who flout the law. You could receive a £100 fine and get 3 points on your licence.’
Online criticism of the new ruling
As mentioned by Halesowen News, not all drivers are happy with the new ruling, with many taking to social media to vent their frustrations.
One road user asked highway authorities to be clearer about when speed restrictions and lane closures would take place, commenting that the new ruling would ‘cause chaos.’
Another asked, ‘Does this sign only apply to the left lane of the motorway? I’ve seen these signs and then expect that at the next set of signs there will be a ‘X’ over the lane it applies to, but they are all clear.’
However, despite criticism, National Highways chief executive Nick Harris praised the new changes: ‘Although our motorways and major A-roads are already among the very safest in the world this new guidance will help road users be even safer. It includes clear, practical information such as how variable speed limits work and advice about where to stop in an emergency. This will help drivers use our roads safely and feel safe doing so, and I urge all drivers to read it.’
New rules of the Highway Code
The changes to motorway systems come after a tougher Highway Code was introduced in September. The DVLA announced that ‘a total of 33 existing rules will be amended and two new rules introduced.’
One rule refers to driving on smart motorways. In the updated Code, drivers found to be driving dangerously on motorways can now face unlimited fines, a driving ban and up to 14 years in prison depending on the severity of the incident.
A new hierarchy of responsibility has also been introduced on UK roads, giving motorists higher responsibility for road safety than cyclists or walkers.
There is also an update to Rule 91 under the ‘fitness to drive’ category. This states that drivers should get sufficient sleep before beginning a journey and ‘avoid undertaking long journeys between midnight and 6am, when natural alertness is at a minimum.’ It also advises road users who are sleepy to stop in a sensible, safe place – not the hard shoulder of the motorway or an emergency area.
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