The smart motorway signs and cameras covering a large section of the M60 and M62 have been fully operational for a little over six months now. And many drivers may be getting used to the variable speed limits and lane closure signs.
But a new law could cost drivers money and points on their licence if it’s ignored.
From Monday 10 June, motorway drivers that ignore the ‘Red X’ lane closed signs on motorways will be slapped with an automatic £100 fine and three points on their licence.
This has always been the law and the penalty has always been the same, but now the home office has ruled that automatic camera can be used to boost enforcement.
The new rule will apply on all smart motorways including sections of the M6 and the stretch between Sale at junction 8 of the M60 and Rochdale at junction 20 on the M62. It will also apply to other smart motorway sections of the M62 and M56 when they are completed over the next few years.
Replying to a Highways Agency tweet about the change, many drivers appeared to be positive about the change. Many highlighted fairness and safety concerns for emergency services, contractors and other people that may be stranded in lanes.
I’m really pleased to read this. I was on the M25 the other day and dutifully moved out of the red x lane as soon as I saw the signs … yet nearly all my fellow drivers carried on in the x lane. Such inconsiderate driving.
— Nicola Wood (@loctus2003) May 25, 2019
Love that this is happening now. Need to protect our emergency services and HATO who are protecting the public 👏👏👏
— IbbleDibble (@IbbleDibble1) May 25, 2019
Are Smart Motorway Cameras Active When the Board Is Blank?
The £208m project covering the M60 and M62 was completed at the end of July last year, but the cameras were only switched on in January after the police finished commissioning work.
Something that has been confusing a lot of motorists is what happens when there are no variable speed signs above the motorway. Some rumours on the internet rumours suggest that the speed cameras are still operational and will flash anyone travelling over the national speed limit (70 MPH).
This is an example of one rumour that has been shared thousands of times by multiple accounts on Facebook. But parts of it at least appear to be false.
First, three points is the standard penalty for speeding. Six points are usually reserved for drivers travelling at speeds far in excess of the speed limit.
Highways England has confirmed that smart motorway cameras ‘are capable’ of enforcing the speed limit even when there’s no speed limit displayed on the boards.
But the agency also said that it is the decision of the local police force whether they pursue prosecutions for these detected offences.
Good morning Christopher. Some sections of smart motorway in England have cameras that are always active but it is the decision of the local police force (who administer speed enforcement) as to whether they pursue prosecutions for any detected offences.
— Highways England (@HighwaysEngland) January 9, 2019
Having spoken to several drivers who regularly use the smart motorway around the M60 and M62, it doesn’t look like the national speed limit is being enforced on this stretch of motorway.
But this could change and the police could easily hit drivers with a £100 fine and three points or a speed awareness course.
When driving on the motorway, we urge everyone to stay below the national speed limit and variable speed limits when in force.