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Smart motorways see 2,500% increase in number of speeding drivers caught

  • 52,516 drivers caught speeding on smart motorways last year
  • Compares to just 2,023 drivers given speeding fines four years ago
  • Often referred to as actively managed motorways

The number of motorists caught speeding on Britain’s smart motorway sections has increased from 2,000 in 2010-2011 to 53,000 in 2014-2015, with the former figures taken before the switch to active management. This is according to police statistics obtained by the BBC's The One Show.

Section of M1 motorway attracts highest number of tickets

In a regional breakdown of the fines handed out, drivers who frequently use the Bedfordshire section of the M1 are most likely to fall foul of smart motorway speed cameras. Junctions 10 to 13 saw 10,489 tickets handed out last year – more than five times the combined total of all the surveyed sections four years ago.  

Drivers who often travel into and out of Wales using the M4 were also frequently caught out, the three-mile stretch between junctions 19 and 20 responsible for 9,038 fines.

Designed to ease congestion and improve safety

First introduced on a stretch of the M42 in 2006, actively managed motorways (or smart motorways as they were later called) have variable speed limits which react to changes in congestion levels.

When traffic builds up, overhead gantries display lowered speed limits in an effort to maintain the smooth flow of vehicles, sometimes opening up the hard shoulder as an additional lane.

Speed cameras are sited at various intervals on the actively managed sections of road, usually set to go off if a driver exceeds the prevailing speed limit.

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