Meet the team – Marsh Webb

Name: Marsh Webb

Job Title: Fleet management support services lead.

Explain your role in 10 words: Client vehicle acquisition and disposal, variety of fleet administration functions.

What’s the best aspect of your job? The people I work with.

What’s the worst aspect of your job? Being stuck behind a desk!

How long have you worked at Fleet Service GB? 19 months.

What was your first paid job? Paper round.

What’s your favourite car? BMW M4.

What one thing would you like to achieve before you retire? To visit Hawaii whilst I’m still young…(ish).

Outside of Fleet Service GB, what would your dream job be? NASA scientist/engineer.

Who in the world would you most like to meet? Clint Eastwood.

What is your favourite way to spend a day outside of work? Something active, out in the fresh air and sun.

If you won the lottery how would you spend the cash? Look after the people that matter to me. Then do what I want, when I want. For the rest of my days!

Not a lot of people know that… I once met tough guy actor Danny Trejo (Google him) in New York City. He was very cool, and kind enough to have his picture taken with me. Top man.

Idling drivers could face higher fines under new Government crackdown

Drivers who leave their vehicle engines running while parked could face tougher penalties under new Government proposals to further improve air quality.

Councils already have the power to fine drivers, but the Department for Transport is looking at toughening up those powers to try and put a stop to unnecessary air pollution.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling intends to launch a public consultation later this summer, looking at increasing fines for idling drivers. According to some reports drivers could be fined up to £1,000, but the Government has yet to announce fine levels, which are likely to be revealed in the forthcoming consultation document.

Engine idling is already an offence, but not widely enforced by local authorities or the police. Rule 123 of The Highway Code looks at ‘The Driver and the Environment’ and states that drivers must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.

Local authorities have the power to issue £20 fixed penalties for emission offences and stationary idling under The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002. Under other legislation a fine of £80 can be imposed if a driver ignores a warning and continues to idle for at least a minute.

Vehicle idling is a major factor in poor air quality, particularly in areas with large numbers of waiting vehicles – such as outside schools, at taxi ranks and bus stations.

Mr Grayling said: “We are determined to crack down on drivers who pollute our communities by leaving their engines running.

“Putting a stop to idling is an easy way to drive down dangerously high levels of pollution, reducing its impact on the environment and our health.”

The Government’s plans, which the Department for Transport said would represent the biggest change to the rules since 2002, would also provide guidance to local authorities on their anti-idling powers, enabling them to enforce the law more effectively.

The consultation will also explore how to deal with repeat offenders who keep their engines running following several warnings.

In respect of engine idling, The Highway Code additionally says: “Generally, if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution. However, it is permissible to leave the engine running if the vehicle is stationary in traffic or for diagnosing faults.”

Businesses fail to communicate and implement a robust driving for work policy to keep employees safe, says new report

Businesses are failing to communicate and implement a robust driving for work policy to keep those who drive for work safe, according to a major survey of employers and executive directors.

Furthermore, the survey revealed a tension between what executive directors’ claim and what their employees say is happening while driving for work.

The study commissioned by Driving for Better Business (DfBB), the Government-backed Highways England programme to raise awareness of the business benefits that come from improved management of occupational road risk, highlighted dangerous attitudes and behaviours of executive directors – and staff – that put the safety of employees who drive for work at risk.

A driving for work policy sets out the standards required of drivers in order to ensure that any business driving activities are compliant with all relevant legislation and guidelines. What’s more, Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) is working with a number of customers to check and, if necessary, update their policies.

Executive directors, said DfBB, needed to ensure a policy was comprehensive, regularly reviewed, communicated effectively to drivers, and that compliance with the policy was monitored.

Improving occupational road risk management of employees who drive company-provided vehicles as well as those driving their own cars on work-related journeys – the so-called ‘grey fleet’ – is one of the key reasons behind Fleet Service GB’s development of its Achieve-branded programme of services including Achieve Driver Management, Achieve Crash Management, Achieve Maintenance Management, Achieve Fleet Manager, Achieve Management Services, as well as its garage network, Achieve Fleet Service Partnership.

The fully-integrated work-related road safety programme unites all aspects of the vehicle and driver management process – eligibility to drive, crash history, vehicle maintenance record, motoring offences and data collected via telematics and other on-board vehicle technologies – to provide managers with a single silo of live and dynamic data with no requirement to access a ‘mishmash’ of sources.

Building on Fleet Service GB’s established driver risk profiler incorporating driver licence checking and driver training, Achieve is a sophisticated continuous driver management programme that uses the very latest IT functionality to compile a driver risk profile delivering analysis and action prompts.

Head of sales Marcus Bray said: “Driver influenced costs are the single largest drain on a company’s in-life fleet vehicle expenditure. Managing work-related road safety is critical to all businesses and key to that is compliance, but also disciplined driver performance.

“The uniqueness of Achieve is that it continuously records and measures both individual driver compliance and performance via a points process to compile a real-time driver history taking into account all key data to produce a ‘drive safe, stay safe’ employee mentality.”

The DfBB study of 1,006 UK employees and 255 executive directors highlighted numerous “failures” by UK bosses to implement driving for work policy including:

  • Despite three quarters (75%) of executives polled saying they ensured employees were aware of their legal obligations in relation to driving for work, nearly half of ‘grey fleet’ employees surveyed (45%) who used their personal car for work said they had not been given a copy of their employer’s driving for work policy.
  • 60% of executives were unsure if or how many employees used their own car for business trips, yet 90% of drivers made work journeys in their own cars despite one in three not being insured to do so. A total of 44% of executives said their organisations did not check that workers who used their personal car for business journeys had a valid driving licence.
  • Almost half (49%) of executives expected their employees to answer their mobile phone at any time, with one in six employees who drove for work (17%) saying they had been involved in an incident when driving for work due to a phone call from a colleague. Despite that it is illegal, one in 20 executives and one in eight employees thought the hard shoulder was a safe place to take a phone call.
  • 75% of employees said they used their personal cars for work journeys at least once a week, yet a third of those drivers (33%) were not insured to do so – saying they did not have cover for business use on their vehicle insurance.

The survey also found a poor approach to vehicle checks and maintenance by employees. Nearly three quarters of employees who drive for work (74%) said when they checked their tyres they simply took a quick glance to see that tyres looked ‘OK’.

Simon Turner, DfBB campaign manager, said: “The report shows a disparity between what employers and employees are saying when driving for work. Business leaders are failing to communicate and implement a robust driving for work policy to keep those who drive for work safe, particularly for those who use their personal cars. Leaders are failing to carry out basic due diligence checks such as ensuring that all employees have a driving licence or vehicle insurance.

“At the same time, the study highlights employees are putting themselves at risk while driving for work, not checking that vehicles are roadworthy and exhibit reckless behaviours when using their mobile phone.”

Mr Turner continued: “As a way of reducing occupational road risk and safeguarding employee wellbeing, a dual responsibility by business leaders and employees is needed. Leaders must implement a driving for work policy that enforces legal and ethical obligations on all employees that drive on work-related journeys. Regular checks need to be put in place to ensure that employees have read and understood the guidelines laid out in the driving for work policy. In doing so, the associated risk to road users and pedestrians is reduced.

“A good practice driving for work policy ensures that at a minimum, organisations are compliant with all relevant legislation and guidelines. Once implemented, these policies complement more general employee safety and wellness programmes as well as introduce efficiencies that reduce costs associated with employees that drive for work purposes.”

mon Turner, DfBB campaign manager, said: “The report shows a disparity between what employers and employees are saying when driving for work. Business leaders are failing to communicate and implement a robust driving for work policy to keep those who drive for work safe, particularly for those who use their personal cars. Leaders are failing to carry out basic due diligence checks such as ensuring that all employees have a driving licence or vehicle insurance.

“At the same time, the study highlights employees are putting themselves at risk while driving for work, not checking that vehicles are roadworthy and exhibit reckless behaviours when using their mobile phone.”

Mr Turner continued: “As a way of reducing occupational road risk and safeguarding employee wellbeing, a dual responsibility by business leaders and employees is needed. Leaders must implement a driving for work policy that enforces legal and ethical obligations on all employees that drive on work-related journeys. Regular checks need to be put in place to ensure that employees have read and understood the guidelines laid out in the driving for work policy. In doing so, the associated risk to road users and pedestrians is reduced.

The DfBB report is available at:

Government ‘green’ advisors urge ministers to end sales of petrol and diesel cars and vans in two fleet replacement cycles

Pressure is mounting on the Government to bring forward its ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel engined cars and vans to 2030, which in many cases is just two fleet vehicle replacement cycles away.

The Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change says in a new report that ministers’ emission reduction strategy is “off-track” across key areas, including transport, with reductions of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of new vehicles falling well short of expectations.

Consequently the Government’s ambition to reach its target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 “must progress with far greater urgency”.

Central to achieving the target is to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans before the Government’s already announced date of 2040 and bring it forward to 2030 or 2035 at the very latest.

The Government’s ‘Road to Zero Strategy’. published last year. announced 2040 as the phase out deadline for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans. However, the Committee says that is “too late to ensure the fleet is fully switched over to zero-emission vehicles by 2050 and fails to grasp the opportunity of electric vehicles that are expected to be cheaper to buy, cheaper to run and less polluting from before 2030”.

A sales ban on conventional vehicles being moved to 2030-2035 is recommended by the Committee as a priority for the next 12 months along with:

  • Stronger incentives to purchase cleaner vehicles, including the use of ‘fiscal instruments’
  • Plans for the roll-out of zero-emission HGVs.

The calls for ‘greater urgency’ is, according to the Committee, due to a lack of progress over several years that has contributed to surface transport new being the highest-emitting sector in the UK.

Reductions in new car and van CO2 emissions and electric car registrations are all tracking behind forecasted levels, while the distances vehicles are travelling collectively is rising, not least because of van deliveries caused by the internet shopping boom.

In 2018 the average CO2 emission figure of new cars sold in the UK was 124.5g/km, up from 121.1g/km in 2017, a 2.9% increase and the second consecutive annual rise. The increase was partly due to continuing growing demand for larger vehicles and a switch to petrol vehicles due to the well-publicised so-called ‘demonisation’ of diesel.

“Current purchasing trends are undermining new car and van emission targets and must be reversed,” said the Committee in its 2019 progress report to Parliament on ‘Reducing UK Emissions’.

It continues: “The need to switch the entire fleet of light-duty vehicles to ultra-low emission vehicles by 2050 means that by 2035, at the very latest, all sales of new cars and vans will need to be ultra-low emission vehicles. If possible, an earlier end to sales of petrol and diesel vehicles would be preferable (eg by 2030 is feasible). This means a rapid ramping up of the market share of electric vehicles, from 2.5% in 2018, during the 2020s.”

Lord Deben, Committee on Climate Change chairman, said: “The UK is the first major economy to set a net-zero emissions target and intends to host the world’s leaders at next year’s landmark climate conference (COP26). These are historic steps forward and position the UK at the forefront of the global low-carbon transition. But international ambition does not deliver domestic action. It’s time for the Government to show it takes its responsibilities seriously. Reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, requires real action by Government now.”

Government to review VED under influence of WLTP emission testing results

The Government has announced that existing Vehicle Excise Duty rates will, for the time being, be maintained on introduction of Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions data for motoring taxation purposes from April 2020 (see table below).

However, as the newly published 2019-20 Draft Finance Bill makes clear a two-tier Vehicle Excise Duty regime will eventually be introduced. That’s because all cars registered before April 1, 2020 will continue to use existing New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) CO2 values for Vehicle Excise Duty purposes, while those registered from April 1, 2020 will use WLTP-based emissions figures.

Later this year the Government will publish a call for evidence seeking views on moving towards a more dynamic approach to Vehicle Excise Duty which recognises smaller differences in CO2 emissions as a result of WLTP testing.

Justifying future changes to the Vehicle Excise Duty regime the Government said that WLTP testing resulted in “many more unique CO2 values, mainly due to model-specific testing”.

As a result, the current Vehicle Excise Duty system was likely to result in “differences between models not being fully recognised in the Vehicle Excise Duty rates paid”. Consequently, it said: “This could exacerbate the current ‘cliff-edges’ between Vehicle Excise Duty bands.”

Vehicle Excise Duty for cars first registered from April 1, 2019

Rates for second tax payment onwards for cars registered after April 1, 2017

Fuel type                     12 month rate
Petrol or diesel           £145
Electric                         £0
Alternative fuel          £135

Cars with a list price above £40,000 pay a £320 supplement for five years from the second time the vehicle is taxed.

Vehicle Excise Duty from April 1, 2019 for cars registered between March 1, 2001 and March 31, 2017

VED Band       CO2 emissions (g/km)           Standard rate*

A                     Up to 100                                £0
B                     101-110                                   £20
C                     111-120                                   £30
D                     121-130                                   £125
E                      131-140                                   £145
F                      141-150                                   £160
G                     151-165                                   £200
H                     166-175                                   £235
I                       176-185                                   £260
J                      186-200                                   £300
K**                 201-225                                   £325
L                      226-255                                   £555
M                    Over 255                                 £570

*Alternative fuel discount 2019/20 £10 all cars
**Includes cars emitting over 225 g/km registered before March 23, 2006.

Government new company car tax regime set to drive vehicle replacement complexity as drivers seek to ease tax burden

Fleet chiefs could look to defer company car replacement until after April 6. 2020 to help drivers reduce their benefit-in-kind tax bills.

That could be one of the unintended consequences as a result of the Government’s new company car benefit-in-kind tax strategy now it has published rates for the three years 2020/21 to 2022/23 (see tables below).

New car sales in the first six months of 2018 are down 3.4% with fleet demand down 1%, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The ongoing decline follows a 6.8% decline last year – fleet volume was down 7.3% – reflecting 12 months of turbulence and a drop of 5.7% in 2017 with fleet registrations down 4.5%.

The motor industry has blamed the Government’s confusing fiscal strategy for much of the sale decline and the decision to take a twin-track approach to company car benefit-in-kind taxation for 2020/21 and 2021/22 – based on whether company cars are first registered before or after April 6, 2020 – could further undermine demand.

That’s because company car benefit-in-kind tax rates for all cars with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 90g/km and above first registered before April 6, 2020 will rise by one percentage point in 2020/21 as previously announced before being frozen for the following two financial years.

However, for cars first registered from April 6, 2020, most company car tax rates will be reduced by two percentage points in 2020/21 compared to those registered before April 6, 2020 before returning to planned rates over the following two years – increasing by one percentage point in 2021/22 and a further one percentage point in 2022/23 thereby realigning rates with those for cars first registered before April 6, 2020.

Therefore, company car drivers could benefit from an initial two percentage point benefit-in-kind tax saving by the delaying of vehicle replacement until after April 6, 2020 and a one percentage point saving in 2021/22 before rates equalise out in 2022/23

For cars first registered prior to April 6, 2020 with CO2 emissions of 1-89g/m a more granular system is being introduced as planned in 2020/21 that will see tax rates on those cars fall or remain unchanged and then frozen at those levels for the next two tax years.

As a result, the new regime adds some complexity for both fleet operators and company car drivers, who will need to understand the benefit-in-kind tax and operational impact with regards to vehicle replacement scheduling crucial particularly over the remainder of 2019/20.

Businesses also need to remember that the realignment of company car benefit-in-kind tax rates also impacts on employer Class 1A National Insurance contributions as well as the Car Fuel Benefit charge.

To accelerate the shift to zero emission cars, all zero emission models will be 0% rated in 2020/21 and not 2% as previously announced, 1% in 2021/22 before returning to the planned 2% rate in 2022/23.

Furthermore, the four percentage point supplement on non-RDE2-compliant diesel cars remains in place. There is a dearth of RDE2 models available so by delaying any company car replacement until beyond April 6, 2020 means more diesel vehicles that meet RDE2 emission standards are likely to be available.

Company car benefit-in-kind tax figures for 2023/24 and beyond have not been published and, said the Government, “remained under review”. It said it would “aim to announce appropriate percentages at least two years ahead of implementation to provide certainty for employers, employees and fleet operators”. Therefore, it can be anticipated that 2023/24 company car benefit-in-kind tax rates will most likely be announced in the Budget in November 2020.

In announcing the new rates, the Government said it “recognised the value of the company car market in supporting the transition to zero emission technology. This is reflected in a higher proportion of company cars with zero emissions – compared to private registrations – and the high proportion of these that are subsequently supplied to the second-hand market after three-four years”.

The Government added: “By providing clarity of future appropriate percentages, businesses

will have the ability to make more informed decisions about how they make the transition to zero emission fleets.”

The announcement follows a Government review of both company car benefit-in-kind tax and Vehicle Excise Duty in the wake of last year’s introduction of the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). The new vehicle emissions and fuel economy testing regime replaced the long-established New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test.

In the 2017 autumn Budget, the Government announced that cars registered from April 2020 would be taxed according to WLTP carbon dioxide (CO2) emission figures.

Previously published motor manufacturer emission figures highlighted that WLTP values would be higher than NEDC values. As a result the review was ordered by ministers.

Review respondents provided data showing increases in CO2 values ranging from 7% to 40% as a consequence of testing under WLTP rules. On average, WLTP results were about 20%-25% higher than NEDC figures with cars with smaller engines, and lower emissions, impacted the most and diesel cars slightly more than petrol models.

The Government said that “significant evidence was not provided” during its review to “suggest that WLTP would cause individuals to opt-out of company cars”.

Industry organisations had lobbied for the recalibration of company car benefit-in-kind tax rates to be neutral. However, pre-review the independent Office for Budget Responsibility calculated that company car tax receipts would increase by £100 million in 2020-21, rising to £400 million in 2023/24 indicating that the changes made are likely to see the Government’s company car cash take continuing to increase in the comping years.

In announcing the changes the Government said it “recognised that WLTP represented a significant change to the vehicle tax system and was aiming to support the automotive tax sector – and protect consumers – during the transition”.

The Government response continued: “Due to the range of WLTP impacts on CO2 emissions, this approach means some conventionally fuelled cars will be liable to pay an equal amount of company car tax as today, whilst others will pay more, and a smaller number of models could pay less.”

Legislation to implement the new company car benefit-in-kind tax regime is included in the 2019/2020 Draft Finance Bill, which has been introduced for debate in Parliament.

Company car benefit-in-kind tax rates for cars first registered before April 6, 2020

For each tax year add 4% for diesel cars up to a maximum of 37%. Cars that meet the Real Driving Emissions Step 2 (RDE2) standard are exempt.

Company car benefit-in-kind tax rates for cars first registered from April 6, 2020

For each tax year add 4% for diesel cars up to a maximum of 37%. Cars that meet the Real Driving Emissions Step 2 (RDE2) standard are exempt.

M6 Toll charges to rise – but new off-peak discounted rate introduced

M6 Toll charges are set to rise from midnight on July 12 by between 10p and 30p for motorbikes and cars, between 10p and 50p for light goods vehicles and between 20p and 50p for HGVs, depending on the time of travel.

However, weekday pricing will change from the current day and night rates to include an additional off-peak discounted rate for drivers travelling on Monday to Friday between 5am – 7am and 7pm – 11pm.

Additionally, following a series of product trials over the past 12 months, M6 Toll operator, the Midland Expressway Limited, is launching three new pricing options – Hopper, Shuttle and ReturnPass – providing savings to drivers who regularly use the road.

Hopper caps weekly travel to £35 based on 10 return trips, which could save drivers more than 35% a month; Shuttle allows commuters to benefit from unlimited local journeys for £20 a week, which, it is claimed, would save the average driver more than £100 a month based on a commuting week; and for those travelling longer distances, ReturnPass provides a 20% saving on every same-day return journey.

Andy Cliffe, chief executive, Midland Expressway Limited, said: “The M 6 Toll is significantly faster than alternative routes, making planning more accurate for businesses and individuals and boosting overall efficiency. We’re committed to making our route stress-free and reliable for all, that’s why we’ve put customer feedback at the heart of our new off-peak price bands and our recent product trials to cap prices and offer attractive savings to local and/or frequent users, ensuring we maximise the positive impact of the M6 Toll across the Midlands and beyond.”

Details of the new prices are in the chart below. If travelling along the M6 Toll heading further afield northbound or southbound, payment is at one of two mainline plazas (mainline in the chart below). If a journey means travelling on just part of the M6 Toll by coming off at one of the local junction plazas, a lower charge rate applies (junction in the chart below).

Businesses wrong to expect technology alone to make employees drive better

Too many businesses are relying on technology to improve road safety for their drivers rather than seeking to change their behaviour and attitude behind the wheel.

That is the claim in a new report by charity IAM RoadSmart, and its conclusion underpins the strength of Fleet Service Great Britain’s fully integrated achieve driver and vehicle management services.

The Achieve hub, which sits at the centre of the services, integrates all of the data captured from Achieve Maintenance Management, Achieve Crash Management, Achieve Driver Management, Achieve Management Services, Achieve Fleet Manager and Achieve Fleet Service Partnership.

The intelligent integration of data creates a unique and powerful engine of information, instantly accessible by fleet managers via configurable online dashboards. Fleet managers then have at their fingertips real-time headline data from vehicles and drivers and the ability to drill-down into the minutiae of the operations.

Developed in partnership with customers, the client-bespoke dashboards deliver data in easy to understand numerical and graphic formats, while simultaneously highlighting action areas, which could ultimately lead to a requirement for driver training to improve safety.

The Achieve Driver Management dashboard, for example, identifies which employees have authority to drive, driver-influenced vehicle costs and a company’s best and worst drivers using a number of key intelligent parameters including: points on driving licences and number and type of crashes.

Meanwhile, Achieve Maintenance Management and Achieve Crash Management dashboards identify critical information that respectively includes: Vehicle pence per mile costs and vehicle servicing and maintenance data providing in-depth trend and predictive analysis and aiding compliance; and detailed information on types of crashes drivers are having, a heat map of incident locations and crash data by day, time and driver.

Marcus Bray, head of sales at Fleet Service GB, said: “Fleet Service GB is harnessing technology to measure vehicle and driver data and performance in real-time.

“Crucially, the dashboards do not just provide data but also flag-up action areas. That means Fleet Service GB is not only providing vehicle and driver information, but interpreting it and so highlighting areas whether in respect of individual vehicle costs that need to be tackled or driver performance that needs to be improved.”

IAM RoadSmart says in the report, ‘Driver Education – What More Can Be Learned?’ – ‘many companies check that their drivers have the appropriate licences and feel that their responsibility ends there. In some cases they may employ technology to monitor driver behaviour, but typically this is used more as a way of maximising operational efficiency as opposed to improving safety’.

In considering the dangers of relying on technology – such as telematics, dashcams and mobile phone apps to improve safety –  the report argues that in many cases the driving issues identified are not followed up with an appropriate and proactive driver training intervention.

It said: “Technology is often relied upon to provide a solution to poor driving. In itself however, it rarely influences driver behaviour or attitudes.”

Tony Greenidge, business development director at IAM RoadSmart, who stressed the importance of improving the skills and increasingly the behaviours of business drivers, said: “While technology can tell you ‘how’ it cannot determine the ‘why,’ and it is this piece of the jigsaw that many businesses leave unanswered.”

The report also explores the “immense cost” to businesses in terms of inefficient driving which can lead to vehicle damage, poor fuel consumption, lost productivity, uninsured liabilities and medical expenses – as well as impacting on road safety.

It says: “There is no doubt that the biggest influencer in fuel consumption is the driver’s right foot. Using an example of a driver doing 20,000 business miles per annum in a diesel vehicle, a 5mpg improvement in fuel consumption is worth around £330 a year. Based on this simple example it is clear that small improvements in driving style and behaviour can make a big impact on cost as well as safety.”

Martin Carter, group information systems director and in charge of a fleet of more than 700 company cars and vans at Stannah, a Fleet Service GB customer, and who was instrumental in assisting with development of the dashboards, said: “We want to collect data so we can exactly identify what our costs are and can then effectively and efficiently manage the fleet and drivers.”

Red X motorway cameras mean fines and penalty points for offending drivers

Motorists now face a £100 fine and three penalty points on their licence if they are detected by cameras of driving in closed motorway lanes designated by a red X.

The penalties apply on smart motorways, which is when the hard shoulder is used as either a permanent or part-time running lane.

Until now motorists driving in closed lanes were only fined if they were caught by a police officer at the time of the offence. It has been reported that Highways England has also issued more than 180,000 warning letters to drivers who have ignored red X signs since the beginning of 2017.

However, introduction of the Road Traffic Offenders (Prescribed Devices) Order 2019 now means motorway cameras are able detect drivers who use lanes with a red X, which signal that a lane is closed and must not be used.

Neil Worth, road safety officer at road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist, said: “Red X signs are often displayed well ahead of a motorway incident, as they help ensure that emergency vehicles can reach the incident. Someone might be stranded in that lane, or there may well be emergency or recovery workers assisting at a collision or a breakdown. That’s why using a motorway lane with a red X is not only illegal but also very dangerous.”

GEM Motoring Assist’s red X tips for staying safe and legal are:

  • Never drive in a lane marked with a red X, as it indicates a lane closure
  • If you see a red X sign ahead for the lane you are using, move across to another lane as soon as it’s safe
  • The red X can be shown on signs located on the verge of the carriageway or on signs above each lane across the carriageway.