Warning over red X motorway signs

ALMOST 10 percent of drivers ignore a red X on motorway gantries, according to a new report.
The signal is used to close lanes when obstructions or crashes have closed a lane, or a broken-down vehicle is causing problems.

But National Highways data showed they were ignored by one-in-10 drivers.
Drivers should abide by the signal by law, and is vital to avoid a potentially serious collision, and fines.
Enforcement cameras are now be used to automatically detect vehicles passing illegally under a red X or entering the lane beyond the signal.

Breaking the rule can result in a fixed penalty of up to £100 and three points on your licence.
However, in more serious cases, these penalties can be increased, or you could even end up in court.
Now, emergency services have joined forces with National Highways to remind drivers of the risks of ignoring red X marks on motorways.

Surrey Police begun enforcing camera-detected red X offences in November 2019 and have issued 9,427 first Notices of Intended Prosecution.
Out of those, 4,926 drivers have completed a safety awareness course, while others selected alternative disposal options such as paying a fixed penalty or having the matter heard at court.
Chief Constable Jo Shiner, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Roads Policing, said: “Red X signals are in place on the motorway for your safety and the safety of others.
“Sadly, there are too many instances where motorists fail to comply with a Red X signal and put others in incredible danger by driving in a closed lane.
“This is unacceptable and drivers who do so need to understand they face prosecution.”
RAC road safety spokesman, Simon Williams, said: “This is a very worrying statistic. For some time, we’ve been concerned that red Xs displayed on signs at the side of the road aren’t nearly as clear as those positioned on gantries directly above each lane.
“We fear this may be a factor in some of the non-compliance. For this reason, it would be helpful to know drivers’ reasons for not obeying red Xs.
“If it’s the case drivers say they hadn’t seen or understood signs at the side of the road then there may be an argument for installing more expensive gantry signage.
“It’s critical drivers obey the red X as it’s often the first line of defence for anyone stranded in a live lane of smart motorway traffic.”

National Highways Traffic Officer, Dave Harford, said: “We don’t take the decision to close lanes lightly, but when we do, drivers must obey the closure.
“A red X signal is there for the safety of everyone on the road – including people in difficulty, traffic officers, recovery and emergency services helping them, and all other road users besides.
“Thankfully, the vast majority of drivers do comply with the signals but those who don’t put themselves and others at risk.”

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