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Driving Offences on a Motorway

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 25 Aug 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Motorway Driving Offences Speeding

Speeding is one of the most common driving offences committed on UK motorways. Speeding on a motorway can actually come with higher penalties than speeding on other public roads.

Motorway Driving in the UK

Motorway driving in the UK is relatively safe but can be daunting, especially for New Drivers. Simple mistakes on a motorway can have very serious consequences and this is the reason why many people take motorway driving lessons. Driving offences on a motorway can occur no matter how experienced the driver. The increased driving speeds on motorways, weather conditions and lack of concentration can lead to serious traffic accidents. It’s no surprise that driving offences such as speeding on a motorway can result in higher penalties and fines.

Speeding on a Motorway

Motorway Speeding Fines are higher due to the serious consequences that can result from speeding on a motorway. The national speed limit on a UK motorway is 70mph but this is exceeded by many drivers on a regular basis. Estimates show that over half the cars driven on a motorway are driven over the legal speed limit. The police do try to resolve most speeding offences with a Fixed Penalty Notice but when speeds are excessive a court appearance may be the result. In most cases the higher the speed the more likely an instant ban will be applicable.

Speeding on a Motorway Penalties and Fines

Fines for speeding on a motorway can be as much as £2,500. Instant Disqualifications for speeding can last between 7 days and 56 days. Extreme cases can result in bans of 120 days although an instant speeding disqualification is at the judge’s discretion. Penalty points for speeding are the usual three to six points and a ban if 12 points have been reached within a three year period. The circumstances of the offence, mitigating circumstances, the driver’s history and the severity of the offence will all be taken into account.

Discretion Available with Speeding Offences

The court does have an amount of discretion available when it comes to applying an instant speeding ban. A number of factors will be taken into account including existing penalty points, driver history, the actual speed limit and the alleged speed limit. When the alleged speed is more than 45% over the actual speed limit there is a much greater chance of a disqualification. A solicitor will be able to assess the specific case and give a likely outcome depending on the circumstances.

Other Common Motorway Driving Offences

There are a number of motorway driving offences that can lead to fixed penalties, usually three points on a licence, these will include:

  • Reversing on a motorway
  • Driving on the hard shoulder of a motorway
  • Driving on a motorway with a provisional driving licence
  • Driving on the central reservation or verge of a motorway
  • A prohibited vehicle that is driving on the motorway offside lane
  • Stopping on the hard shoulder of a motorway can be a prosecutable offence

Stopping or Driving on the Motorway Central Reservation

It is an offence to either stop or drive on the central reservation or verge on a motorway. The central reservation is categorised as any part of the motorway that is not the actual carriageway or the hard shoulder. Committing this offence can lead to a fine of up to £2500 and three penalty points on a licence. There may be certain circumstances why the driver had to stop on the central reservation that can be taken into account. These can include a sudden illness, a breakdown or an accident.

For beginners one of the best ways to obtain experience of motorway driving is to have an additional motorway driving lesson. Some driving schools will actually include motorway driving as part of the driving course. Motorways driving lessons are an excellent way for new drivers to overcome motorway driving fears, learn the rules of the motorway and learn about motorway driving offences. Pass Plus driving courses available through driving schools will usually have motorway driving lessons included as part of the learning experience.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi, I had accidentally drove into a red cross lane on junction 9 of the m25 as there were several vehicles in front of me in that lane and I didn't realise it was a red cross lane after a while? Will I still have any consequences against me?
PAL - 25-Aug-18 @ 10:27 AM
Do any cameras in the U.K. pick up undertaking on a motorway?
Glenn - 16-Aug-18 @ 8:28 AM
I was driving towards southend when their was an X (lane closed) however I went on that lane for a few seconds and then merged with the other lane due to traffic however I have not applead against the letter I have received by essex police. What is the likely consequences as I am a bit worried due to me being New on the road
Mahdi - 15-Aug-18 @ 4:13 AM
Son78 - Your Question:
I was driving on the m6 no speed limit restrictions driving at 70mph I went on the hard shoulder for a few minutes but l saw a sign saying hard shoulder is only for emergency use only will I get any points ?

Our Response:
If your vehicle was caught oncamera driving on the hard shoulder without good reason, yes you may be charged.
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:30 AM
I was driving on the m6 no speed limit restrictions driving at 70mph I went on the hard shoulder for a few minutes but l saw a sign saying hard shoulder is only for emergency use only will I get any points ?
Son78 - 8-Aug-18 @ 9:59 PM
Maikhel - Your Question:
Hello what are the current penalties for driving under a red X sign on M25.Yesterday night I drove through a close lane with red x sign. I just found out that there is new law suppose to come in 2018 to penalise drivers however I couldn’t find anything wether the new law came into force or not Please let me know Thanks

Our Response:
We contacted Highways England to ask them (back in April 2018) but haven't yet received a response. We will get in touch with them again and post here.
NoPenaltyPoints - 30-Jul-18 @ 11:09 AM
Hello what are the current penalties for driving under a red X sign on M25. Yesterday night I drove through a close lane with red x sign. I just found out that there is new law suppose to come in 2018 to penalise drivers however I couldn’t find anything wether the new law came into force or not Please let me know Thanks
Maikhel - 27-Jul-18 @ 12:30 AM
Kfff - Your Question:
Been driving on motorway 70 speed limit.no cars on the road very clear trafic abt 11 midnight come home got leter fine plus 3 points was 50 speed limit.how no que no accident no road works.plus motorway speed at limit never know I will get a points plus fine for driving on motorway at 70 limit speed.

Our Response:
If there are 50mph signs in place, then that's the speed limit unfortunately.
NoPenaltyPoints - 13-Jun-18 @ 2:40 PM
Been drivingon motorway70 speedlimit....no cars on the roadvery cleartraficabt 11 midnightcome home got leterfineplus 3 pointswas 50 speed limit...how no que no accidentno road works ...plusmotorwayspeedat limit never knowI willget a pointsplus fine for drivingon motorwayat 70 limitspeed ....
Kfff - 9-Jun-18 @ 9:13 PM
Fritz300- Your Question:
I have received a NIP for driving at 80mph on the M25 while in a variable 50mph zone. The incident occurred at 23:50 with little traffic, no lane closures, good weather and no road works. I have a clean licence that I have had for over 20 years. What will happen? Are speed restrictions allowed to be put in place for no reason, is this a factor that could get me off? Do I plead guilty/not guilty?

Our Response:
A plea that the speed limit was not relevant at the time, would be unlikely to succeed. A speed of 80mph in a 50mph zone is likely to result in a court summons and may be subject to a Band C fine (150% of your net weekly income) plus 6 points...or a possible ban of 7 - 56 days. You may be able to state your case in front of a judge. It may be wise to seek professional legal advice.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Jun-18 @ 3:13 PM
I have received a NIP for driving at 80mph on the M25 while in a variable 50mph zone. The incident occurred at 23:50 with little traffic, no lane closures, good weather and no road works. I have a clean licence that I have had for over 20 years. What will happen? Are speed restrictions allowed to be put in place for no reason, is this a factor that could get me off? Do I plead guilty/not guilty?
Fritz300 - 4-Jun-18 @ 9:25 PM
I was driving today on the motorway,the road then split- there was a jam on the right hand side and the lane was empty to come off on the left. road was flowing on the left, to leave and a lorry was then trying to cut into the right hand lane - but cars didnt seem to want to let the lorry in, there was also a van waiting to move into the right hand lane, i went onto the hard shoulder to simply get around the lorry and van (this is wrong, but cutting in when you are going at some speed can cause accidents) there was a traffic cop present who saw me and flagged his hand but then left me alone (i clearly was on camera) dreading the post man now.. Can anyone advise what could happen next as im very worried)
Nat - 21-May-18 @ 7:56 AM
ithw888 - Your Question:
Can anyone explain how and when a variable speed limit is enforced? I keep hearing its only during peak traffic times or when the traffic is heavy that a speed restriction is necessary.

Our Response:
In variable speed limit areas the speed limit is changed depending on the level of congestion. The speeds are changed manually by operators or sometimes by sophisticated technology that monitors traffic flow. Speed limits might be lowered at times of peak congestion in order to create a smoother flow of traffic or an accident is ahead the variable limit can be set to enable traffic to slow down to a stop or to allow it to pass at a reasonable/safe speed. The limits are displayed at regular intervals and are enforced by cameras.
NoPenaltyPoints - 18-May-18 @ 3:05 PM
Can anyone explain how and when a variable speed limit is enforced? I keep hearing its only during peak traffic times or when the traffic is heavy that a speed restriction is necessary.
ithw888 - 17-May-18 @ 10:06 PM
ABBASY - Your Question:
Hi,I drove through a closed lane in M25 yesterday. I do not use motorway very often (used yesterday after 1 year). I saw the sign overhead to move to right lane as the lane ahead is closed and speed limit 40. I moved to right lane and reduced my speed. After a while there was coach behind me and the coach came very close to me (he was doing well above the speed limit) in order to maintain the gap I moved to the left lane and as soon as the coach drove past me, I move to the right lane.It seems to me that only me was maintaining the speed limit shown and everyone was doing more than 50. I am very cautious on the road and never broken any traffic rules. Now I am afraid I will get penalty for moving to the left lane which was closed. I done some research and found out new law was supposed to come at the end of March 2018 to penalised drivers who use closed lanes with £100 fine and 3 penalty points. However, I could not find anywhere whether the law came into force. I would be glad if anyone could help me with the information whether law is already in force.

Our Response:
We're stilll awaiting a response from Highways England about this. We'll keep you posted.
NoPenaltyPoints - 24-Apr-18 @ 2:22 PM
Hi, I drove through a closed lane in M25 yesterday. I do not use motorway very often (used yesterday after 1 year). I saw the sign overhead to move to right lane as the lane ahead is closed and speed limit 40. I moved to right lane and reduced my speed. After a while there was coach behind me and the coach came very close to me (he was doing well above the speed limit) in order to maintain the gap I moved to the left lane and as soon as the coach drove past me, I move to the right lane.It seems to me that only me was maintaining the speed limit shown and everyone was doing more than 50. I am very cautious on the road and never broken any traffic rules.Now I am afraid I will get penalty for moving to the left lane which was closed. I done some research and found out new law was supposed to come at the end of March 2018 to penalised drivers who use closed lanes with £100 fine and 3 penalty points. However, i could not find anywhere whether the law came into force. I would be glad if anyone could help me with the information whether law is already in force.
ABBASY - 23-Apr-18 @ 10:01 AM
Donc0906 - Your Question:
HelloWhat are the current penalties for driving under a red X on the smart motorway? For example if Highways closed a road due to an accident. You are passed the gantry prior to the accident and no lane closure is shown. As you approach the accident you moved to the second lane for the safety of the people on the hard shoulder. As you move back into lane 1 you see that a red X has been put above that lane, yoy have no time to move bavk into lane 2 to avoid it. The following Ganty shows the lane open.

Our Response:
Highways England announced that penalties would be imposed for driving in a closed lane from spring 2018. We've contacted them to confirm details and will update the above article when we can.
NoPenaltyPoints - 20-Apr-18 @ 2:25 PM
Hello What are the current penalties for driving under a red X on the smart motorway? For example if Highways closed a road due to an accident. You are passed the gantry prior to the accident and no lane closure is shown. As you approach the accident you moved to the second lane for the safety of the people on the hard shoulder. As you move back into lane 1 you see that a red X has been put above that lane, yoy have no time to move bavk into lane 2 to avoid it. The following Ganty shows the lane open.
Donc0906 - 18-Apr-18 @ 10:34 AM
Hi there all, I've been given a summon for stopping on the motorway, 40-50metres after the 'hard shoulder ends' sign which I DIDN'T SEE...:-( i was told i will get 3 points and £100 I am not worried about the £100 fine but the points more than anything as my current car insurance quoted me a potential increase with the points on, of more than double (£1,514) of my current price I'm paying (£700). I told them I want to go to court for this as it's not fair. I have kept my licence clean for 10 years ....don;t want any points on it either so any ideas what to say or do in court (please only reply if you DO know, don't just suppose things and share them) Does anyone know for sure what should I expect from the hearing day as I've never been to Court let alone for a driving offence ....I have no clue how to speak, what to say, etc.
Marc D. - 12-Mar-18 @ 9:47 AM
Big Wes - Your Question:
I was driving on the M74 in Glasgow earlier tonight and I was doing below 60mph in the left lane but there was another car in the middle lane and I just saw this flash. I was doing under the speed limit but I nearly undertook the car that was in the middle lane. My question is, can you get flashed for undertaking on the motorway?

Our Response:
We really don't know the answer to this sorry. It seems unlikely though.
NoPenaltyPoints - 19-Jan-18 @ 1:00 PM
I was driving on the M74 in Glasgow earlier tonight and I was doing below 60mph in the left lane but there was another car in the middle lane and I just saw this flash. I was doing under the speed limit but I nearly undertook the car that was in the middle lane. My question is, can you get flashed for undertaking on the motorway?.
Big Wes - 16-Jan-18 @ 10:35 PM
Nelo - Your Question:
I was stopped on M25 Exit wisley to Cobham abut 17:30 because I was at long queue to Guildford then I saw the blue Board ( NO HARD SHOULDER FOR 550 YARDS) I put 2 tyres at the hard shoulder to join the left lane to Cobham because is clear and police stop me, he just told me I am driving on hard shoulder ask for my driving license He back ofter 10 minutes with a course or 3 points on the license. I just check the paper when I got home. He put at paper like I am driving on hard shoulder and he put the no body in the car so I got a Customer with me and I got 90% sure I just turned ofter the blue board so the ticket have false information. I like to know what to do because I don’t want take 3 points in my license I have no chance to speak with the police and he knows I got a customer this is a normal way to Stop the drivers, I don’t mind to do the course but 3 points for this no way

Our Response:
If you dispute this you must be prepared to attend court and may be asked for evidence that you were not on the hard shoulder. The penalty could be more severe if you are not able to prove your case. If you decide to reject the FPN we stronly advise seeking professional legal advice.
NoPenaltyPoints - 11-Dec-17 @ 2:07 PM
I was stopped on M25 Exit wisley to Cobham abut 17:30 because I was at long queue to Guildford then I saw the blue Board ( NO HARD SHOULDER FOR 550 YARDS) I put 2 tyres at the hard shoulder to join the left lane to Cobham because is clear and police stop me, he just told me I am driving on hard shoulder ask for my driving license He back ofter 10 minutes with a course or 3 points on the license. I just check the paper when I got home. He put at paper like I am driving on hard shoulder and he put the no body in the car so I got a Customer with me and I got 90% sure I just turned ofter the blue board so the ticket have false information. I like to know what to do because I don’t want take 3 points in my license I have no chance to speak with the police and he knows I got a customer this is a normal way to Stop the drivers, I don’t mind to do the course but 3 points for this no way
Nelo - 10-Dec-17 @ 4:25 PM
I was travelling on the m4 in wales today they where setting out road works in lane 2&3 the road works where not complete and the road was free again. I moved out into the outside lane and then went back up to 70 I then notice a red x over the lane I was in and 40mph sign over the left hand lane however the cars in that lane where breaking sharply and I didnt believe I could make a safely into the lane without causing an accident so I looked ahead as their was nothing I continued on but I was then flashed. Does anyone know what penalty if any this carries as all I can find is that the department of Transport are looking to introduce penalties in early 2018.
Haawk - 8-Dec-17 @ 12:43 AM
I was pulled over because I was using the hard shoulder, i got sent a letter asking for my licence and £100, I sent the £100 but not my licence, now I been sent a letter asking for a plea. What will happen in court? Will I lose my licence? What type of fine will I get?
Jiggy - 23-Nov-17 @ 1:42 PM
Fozzy- Your Question:
Been issued doing 48 on a restricted 40 zone am I wrong to think it’s harsh and could cost me my job very worried

Our Response:
At this speed you can expect a fixed penalty of 3 points plus £100 fine or the offer of Speed Awareness Course. We're not sure why you think it's harsh?
NoPenaltyPoints - 20-Oct-17 @ 3:14 PM
Been issued doing 48 on a restricted 40 zone am I wrong to think it’s harsh and could cost me my job very worried
Fozzy - 18-Oct-17 @ 2:24 PM
Mitch - Your Question:
Can you be sent a fixed penalty notice for driving on the hard shoulder, without being pulled over ?

Our Response:
Yes you can be issued with a Fixed Penalty for this but only after you have confirmed your indentity by responding to a Notice of Intended Prosecution
NoPenaltyPoints - 24-May-17 @ 11:50 AM
Can you be sent a fixed penalty notice for driving on the hard shoulder, without being pulled over ?
Mitch - 23-May-17 @ 8:02 AM
Crow - Your Question:
Hi I was stopped on the motorway.l a couple miles after joining it. I accelarated into the high 90s, possibly slightly quicker for a few seconds and rhen pulled over into eh middle lane slowing with a view to existing the motorway in a mile or so. Flashing lights in the mirror.pulled over.a heavy telling off PNC check etc. The officer was fair with me and I went on my way. He told me I would receive a notice of prosecution within 6 months and did not issue a ticket, just showed me the video of myself in the distance and the speed he had to do in order to catch me (106). At no point did he tell me the speed I was doing. He made notes on his notebook and sent me on my way. I'm left wondering whether he has been generous or whether to expect a summons etc? Any views please?

Our Response:
If he said you'd be issued with an NIP within 6 months, then that's probably what you should expect.
NoPenaltyPoints - 31-Mar-17 @ 2:46 PM
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