Upgraded cameras on smart motorways mean drivers breaking red X signs could be fined £100 without police having to catch them in the act.

National Highways has upgraded nearly 100 cameras on all-lane running and dynamic hard shoulder motorways, which includes sections of the M25 and M1.

The cameras will catch drivers who flout signals which show that a lane is closed.


The government has also funded new equipment to detect vehicles which have come to a stop in the road, and earmarked £390 million for more emergency areas.

National Highways' announcement is part of a new report, which comes two years after transport secretary Grant Shapps MP raised concerns about serious casualties on smart motorways in a 2020 safety "stocktake".

Roads minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton said National Highways is making "good progress" on improving smart motorway safety.

The Baroness said: "This progress report shows we continue to make good progress delivering our commitments.

"However, there should be no upper limit on the safety of our roads which is why I, alongside the transport secretary, will continue to do everything I can to ensure drivers are as safe and feel as safe as they possibly can."

A total 92 out of 95 enforcement cameras on all-lane running and dynamic hard shoulder motorways can detect when a driver has passed under a red X.

Police can potentially issue fines of £100 for the offence.

There will be 330 new signs nationwide to inform drivers of the next best place to stop in an emergency.

"By the end of September 2022 drivers will almost always be able to see a sign informing them of the distance to the next place to stop in an emergency," a National Highways statement reads.

Radar technology will be installed on 100 miles of smart motorway, so that vehicles which come to a stop in live lanes can be detected automatically.

In January 2022, the government paused the rollout of some new smart motorways to gather new economic and safety data.

At the time, Philip Gomm of the RAC Foundation, said: "On safety grounds, this pause is unarguable.

"No-one underestimates the complexity of these schemes but it does underline the need to get the design right first time."

All-lane running is in place on the M25 between junction 23 (A1, Hatfield) and junction 25 (A10, Enfield) in Hertfordshire.

A plan to convert the M1 into all-lane running between junction 10 (A1081, Luton Airport) and junction 13 (A421, Woburn) in Bedfordshire is paused.