NI 73 - Motorists have ONE MINUTE to react to variable speed limits on smart motorways before they can be fined for speeding, Highways England says

Post date: 06-Feb-2020 18:16:44

  • Operators told Auto Express there's a one-minute grace period between a new variable speed limit being put in place and speed cameras enforcing it

  • All types of smart motorway have variable limits controlled by Highway England

  • A new speed limit can be signalled on overhead gantries to tell motorists

  • It takes one minute for smart speed cameras to re-calibrate to the new limit

How quickly do motorists need to slow down to adhere to changing speed limits on smart motorways before they are fined for speeding?

An exclusive investigation by Auto Express found drivers have 60 seconds to react to a new limit being displayed on a smart motorway overhead gantry before cameras start snapping them for speeding.

The one-minute grace period was confirmed by Highways England, the under-fire operator responsible for smart motorways that have been dubbed 'death traps' by MPs and police this week.

All three types of smart motorway use variable speed limits to respond to busy periods of traffic, roadworks and incidents that have taken place ahead.

A speed limit can be changed at any time and motorists are informed by signs on gantries above the motorway.

All speed cameras enforcing smart motorways re-calibrate to match the new limit put in place temporarily to catch motorists speeding.

But how long do motorists have to adjust their speed to limits that can suddenly drop by ten miles per hour or more?

Motoring magazine and website Auto Express has quizzed Highways England about the level of enforcement and how quickly cameras react to a new speed limit in place.

The government agency confirmed there is a 60 second gap between a speed limit change appearing on gantries and smart motorway speed cameras settings switching to trigger to the new limit.

After that minute has passed, the cameras are enforcing at the new signposted limit until further notice.

It means drivers need to be extra vigilant while using these roads, as they could face speeding fines if they don't respond to changing limits quickly enough.

Given that the new speeding sentencing structures that could lead to as much as a £2,500 fine for offenders, motorists who flout the rules leave themselves wide open to severe financial punishment.

Highways England told Auto Express: 'Following a change in the speed displayed by signals there is a 60-second grace period before HADECS3 cameras start enforcement, giving time for drivers to adapt to the new mandatory speed limit, especially when speed limits are reduced due to slow-moving or queuing traffic up ahead.'

One stretch of smart motorway where four drivers were killed after being stranded with no hard shoulder was found to have raised millions in speeding fines, it was revealed last year.

More than 60,000 speeding tickets were reportedly issued between junction 30 and 35a of the M1 in Yorkshire in nearly three years, racking in a total of £6,233,700 in enforcements.

Source: Autoexpress, Daily Mail

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