A New Smart Motorway
Between junction 23a (Nottingham/East Midlands) and junction 24 (Derby) of the M1, a new stretch of 24-hour operative smart motorway has been established, enforcing new speed limits to help reduce traffic accidents and make for a safer journey to all that use it.
Whilst this greatly benefits all M1 users by providing a more controlled motorway and safer journey, the smart motorway does come with serious fines to those who do not abide by its speed restrictions that all drivers should be made aware of.
Fleets Insurance has put together a list of information about this new section of the M1 so you know what to look out for to avoid fine penalties and ensure for a safer, less-stress, less-hassle drive to your journey.
What is a Smart Motorway?
In order to understand the penalty fines that can come with breaking the restrictions of this smart motorway, and therefore how to avoid such penalties, a basic knowledge to such sections of this motorway is required.
A smart motorway is defined by substituting the hard shoulder of a stretch of motorway for an extra lane. This extra lane is monitored from a control centre, with the inclusion of overhead signs regulated by highway staff and dotted along the stretch of road to warn drivers of all road-related issues, including those listed below:
- Speed Restrictions – overhead signs will display temporary restricted speed limits for a particular stretch of the motorway until otherwise advised. Those who do not abide by such limits are issued with penalty fines.
- Traffic Flow Issues – overhead signs will display particular issues with traffic flow and, in some cases, reasons for this. This sign is more of a warning to drivers of potential delays to their journey ahead due to such issues.
- Lane Closures – overhead signs will display messages detailing the upcoming closures of particular lanes. This is done to not only warn drivers of potential delay to their journey but also to be cautious of their speed whilst preparing to integrate into another lane.
The Fines for Breaking Smart Motorway Regulations
The most common fine drivers could risk facing on this section of smart motorway is speeding, which comes with a variety of penalties and actions that can be taken when charged with such penalties.
Caught by speed camera – If caught by one of the speed cameras dotted along this stretch of the motorway, you will receive both a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and a Section 172 notice within 14 days of the incident.
Upon receiving both the NIP and Section 172 notice, you must:
- Return Section 172 notice by 28 days of receiving it.
- Inform the police the person who was driving the car at the time the speed limit was broken.
After both tasks are complete, you will be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). However, if you chose to ignore both NIP and Section 172 notice you may have to go to court and receive further, and often harsher, penalties.
Caught by the police – if caught by the police, one of three penalties can be issued to you dependent on the situation:
- The police may simply provide a verbal warning.
- The police may give you a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).
- The police may order you to court, further instructions of this detailed in a letter that will be sent to you after such penalty is issued.
The Cost of Fines
- Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), pleading guilty – if drivers plead guilty of the charges faced from the FPN, they will have to both pay £100 and have 3 points added to their license. The latter penalty may not apply if drivers are given the chance to complete a speed awareness course.
- In addition to this, the license of drivers faced with such charges will have a code on it for the duration of 4 years. More information about this code can be found on the .gov webpage: https://www.gov.uk/penalty-points-endorsements/endorsement-codes-and-penalty-points
- Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), pleading not guilty – if drivers plead not guilty for the charges faced from the FPN, they will have to attend court. Pleading this option can not only mean potentially larger the fines (maximum £1000, and £2500 if charge was made whilst driving on a motorway), and penalty points on their license, but also potential disqualification from driving or suspension of the license.
- New drivers – new drivers (of 2 years or less) could face their license being revoked if the charge for speeding racks up more than 6 penalty points to their license.