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New motorway driving law – points and fines for ignoring lane closures

New motorway driving law – points and fines for ignoring lane closures

New motorway driving law, in force from 10th June 2019, brings penalty points and fines for drivers ignoring motorway lane closures on smart motorways. Defence lawyer, Harvinder Hear looks at the changes and consequences for drivers who don’t abide by the new motorway driving law.

Red X lane closure enforcement

New Home Office legislation will allow Highways England to use cameras to catch drivers ignoring red X signs and issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs).  Motorists will be handed a £100 fine and three penalty points for ignoring the rules.

Motorway lane closures are displayed by means of a red ‘X’ on the electronic gantries, which are located overhead on smart motorways. Smart motorways cover large stretches of major routes such as the M1, M6 and M25. Lanes can be closed for a number of reasons such as an accident, broken down vehicle, roadworks, or to let emergency service vehicles thorough to attend an accident quickly.

Previous rules only allowed FPNs to be issued if a police officer actually caught the driver in the red X lane. This was becoming less likely with the falling numbers of road traffic officers in the UK.

Support for the new motorway driving law

Mike Wilson, chief highways engineer at Highways England, commented: “Our motorways are already among the safest in the world but this move will make them even safer.”

The new motorway driving law has also been welcomed by motorists’ groups. Edmund King, AA president, said: “Although it has taken far too long, this is a welcome measure to improve safety on motorways. Red Xs are put up to warn of an obstruction, so drivers must get out of the lane when they see them. We have had several incidents recently where AA members’ cars have been hit in a live lane on ‘smart’ motorways.”


An RAC survey in March 2019 indicated that over 20% of drivers admitted to having ignored a red X sign, either accidentally or on purpose.

Since the beginning of 2017, Highways England has issued warning letters to over 180,000 drivers who have ignored red X signs.

Motoring Law experts

We understand how important your driving licence is and the impact of losing it on yourself, your family and even your job. We provide advice on motorway driving law as well as the whole gamut of road traffic offences.

Seeking early advice from a Motoring Law specialist is vital. Whether you are facing 12 points, or charges for speeding, driving without insurance or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or careless or dangerous driving, we can offer the best support and advice. Call our London office in West Drayton on 01895 449288, or Hertfordshire office in St Albans on 01727 840900, or fill in our enquiry form.

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