Red X closed motorway lanes to be enforced with auto-detection cameras and fines of £100 and licence points for offenders
Drivers could face a £100 fine and three points on their licence if caught travelling in a closed motorway lane, thanks to a change to enforcement cameras.
Auto-detection cameras are now identifying motorists who ignore the 'Red X' closed sign above a motorway lane and choose to drive in it anyway.
A Red X sign is used to identify when a motorway lane is closed and indicates that drivers should move into an open lane to continue their journey. They are used on smart motorways and other major routes to help manage traffic flow and incidents that may occur.
All police forces have the power to enforce the Red X and it is illegal for any driver to ignore the essential signal.
A change in the law back in June 2019 across the country, says National Highways, meant that cameras able to detect the offence could begin to be upgraded and tested before operational use. Police are now able to enforce Red X offences using the cameras on all networks with the technology.
Posting on Twitter, National Highways - formerly Highways England - is warning motorists tempted to ignore the sign that alongside the risk of being caught by an officer in a vehicle, a camera could also now pick up the offence leading to a fine and licence points.
They said: "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."
According to a government survey in 2015 it was estimated that one third of road users at the time did not know what to do when they saw the Red X sign displayed overhead on a motorway.
The results also prompted a series of radio adverts reminding drivers of their legal obligation to avoid that lane of the motorway if signs above them indicated it was out of bounds - while a poll by AA also suggested there was a lack of understanding among drivers with a third likely to continue in the Red X lane until they saw the reason for the closure.
Speaking at the time AA president Edmund King said: "When a vehicle is broken down in a live running lane the Red X is a potential life saver. Drivers who ignore the Red X are not only putting themselves and the lives of other motorists around them at risk but are also risking prosecution.
"While some motorists may feel a Red X is being incorrectly shown this does not mean they can ignore them."