New fine to be introduced for driving on smart motorways under dreaded 'Red X'

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Motorists are set to be hit with MORE fines for driving on smart motorways - for driving under 'Red X' overhead signs.

Automated electronic signs operate on smart motorways across the country, including on the M1 in Yorkshire.

The signs on overhead gantries flash up changes of speed limits - with drivers being warned this week that driving even 1MPH over the limit could lead to a fine.

But there is also another law coming into operation in 2018 which could land you with a hefty fine.

Red 'X' signs are used above lanes which have been, or are being, closed to traffic.

The police and the Highways Agency use the signs to stop drivers from entering the lane so that traffic can flow around obstructions like broken down vehicles.

More than 20,000 drivers have received warning letters for driving in Red X lanes since 2016.

But from the spring drivers will face a penalty for driving under a red X on a smart motorway.

Cameras set up on the side of the gantries can automatically capture any car driving under a red X - and issue an instant fine.

An on-the-spot fine will begin at £100 but could rise to £2,500 depending on the nature or severity of the offence.

Drivers can also receive three penalty points on their licence for the infraction.

Jamie Hassall, Highways Agency national enforcement co-ordinator, said: "It is pretty simple – if you see a Red X, don’t drive in that lane.

"If you do, you could collide with a broken down vehicle, or with a traffic officer, emergency service crew or recovery operator working in that lane.

"Complying with the Red X, as most drivers do, means our traffic officers, road workers and emergency services can attend to incidents and reopen lanes more quickly. We urge all drivers to play their part in keeping our motorways flowing and safe by taking responsibility for their own safety and that of others.