motorways or smart revenue raising?|
In its latest newsletter,
the online motor fuel prices website petrolprices.com
has an interesting article on the stealthy introduction of heavy fines. The question
raised is this really just another means of raising revenue through driving fines?
the article and photo are from the newsletter released by petrolprices.com
article on the petrolprices.com website
reports "smart motorways were originally sold to motorists as a more efficient
way to use the roads. Their innovative technology and time saving benefits were
claimed to free up traffic flow and reduce air pollution. However, could it be
that they are really just another means of raising revenue through driving fines?|
There will soon be a £100 fine
for anyone caught driving in a lane marked with a red X.
The red X is used predominantly to indicate when the hard shoulder has been closed.
Not only will defying the red X now garner drivers a £100 fine, it will
also incur penalty points on their licence. The announcement of the fine follows
Highways England sending out 50,000 warning letters to drivers who had
been caught using smart motorways wrongly. A third of those letters related to
drivers who had driven in a lane with a red X displayed above it. If all those
drivers had received fines, instead of just warning letters, a cool £1.6m
of revenue would have been raised. Clearly, someone in charge has been doing
The RAC agrees that handing out these
fines is the right thing to do. The organisation hopes that the implementation
of the fine will deter people from driving in closed lanes, which is often dangerous
due to a hazard. Seeing motorists using these closed lanes also makes other drivers
frustrated, which can be dangerous in itself. This is especially true when people
are intentionally using the closed lane until the last minute so that they can
then cut in and get ahead of other road users.
red X that indicates very clearly that the
lane is closed. However, in the cases of other transgressions, it may be lack
of education about smart motorways is causing motorists to make mistakes. Many
dont realise they are doing anything wrong. The Department for Transport
is expected to release plans for the new smart motorway fees shortly. In the meantime,
it has been suggested that drivers should be given more information about how
to use smart motorways in the correct way. This would mean fewer drivers ending
up with unexpected fines. Not only would this help people to avoid fines, but
it would also make smart motorways safer to use. At present it seems that many
drivers are unaware of the risks involved with not using them properly.
do you do if you break down on a smart motorway with no hard shoulder?
people are unsure of what they would do if their car were to break down at a point
when there is no hard shoulder to pull onto. Without this knowledge, theres
much greater scope for a breakdown to result in a nasty accident. In case you
were wondering, there are emergency bays are spaced along smart motorways at regular
intervals. These can be used in the event of a problem. Meanwhile, you are advised
to always check your tyres, oil, fuel and water before making a journey, to reduce
the risk of a breakdown.
With so many drivers being
unaware of exactly how they should be using a smart motorway, it could be said
that it really isnt fair to impose fines on people until they have been
given far more education about the new way of using these particular roads. The
lack of effort in terms of educating drivers certainly points to an intention
to use smart motorways for revenue generation. The move will add to the pressure
on drivers already struggling with rising motoring costs. Clearly, using smart
motorways incorrectly can result in dangerous situations, however does that make
it right to prioritise fining transgressors before sufficiently educating them?
A cynic might presume that information is being withheld in order to catch people
out when they are unsure of how to drive on these new roads. Perhaps our smart
motorways are simply offering a smart new way to make more money from the UKs
beleaguered car owners.
With this in mind, Highways England has been asked
to provide motorists with a better education about smart motorways. Drivers need
to know what they do, how they should be used, and what the different signs mean.
They also need to know what not to do, so that they can avoid being fined!"
you confident that you understand all the rules and regulations relating to smart
motorways or will you be one of those who could be in line for a fine due to lack
of knowledge? Let petrolprices.com know your views by leaving a comment
on their webpage.