Hooligans that risk lives by speeding on smart motorways can be penalised whether - or not - a temporary, lower, limit is in place despite the widespread perception otherwise, it has been confirmed.
Highways England is responsible for smart motorways and its operatives vary the speed limit to help traffic flow smoothly. Any lower limit is confirmed via overhead signs and is “legally enforceable” by cameras. However, some motorists do not know the cameras can also enforce the high, 70mph, limit (if so configured).
Consider the M1 in Derbyshire, for example. Its cameras operate irrespective of the speed limit, time of day and other factors. In 2017, 8,382 drivers fell foul including a delinquent that hit 128mph irrespective of the risk to nearby, innocent, parties. These cameras penalised more perpetrators than any of their counterparts.
Purpose of cameras is to improve safety
There is further widespread perception that the purpose of safety cameras is to raise money. Smart motorway fines totalled £526 million between 2013 and 2016, after all (inclusive). However, Derbyshire Police’s Manager of the Casualty Reduction Enforcement Support Team, Darren Roberts, addressed this concern. He suggested:
“The cameras are not there to generate money. They are there to catch speeders, get reckless drivers off the road and ultimately lead to a reduction in collisions.” Mr Roberts further urged inconsiderate, speeding, motorists that show no regard for road safety to consider the potential consequence of their behaviour.
“Imagine if you had to knock on the door of a victim’s family to tell them their loved one had died because of your reckless driving”, he said. “It’s just not worth the risk. Speeding can never be justified. Why risk lives to arrive a few minutes earlier?
Smart motorways considered dangerous, survey shows
How to use smart motorways
Highways England confirmed how to use smart motorways safely. Tips include:
Stay out of any lane marked with a X (it is closed)
Keep to the speed limit
Solid white line indicates the hard shoulder (do not enter unless instructed)
Broken white line indicates a normal running lane
If your car starts to breakdown, leave the motorway at the closest exit or – if this is impractical - stop in an emergency refuge area then switch on the hazard warning lights
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