Drivers warned they face £100 fine and three points after changes to motorway cameras

Average speed cameras in position on the M3 motorway in Hampshire. (Getty)

Cameras on England’s motorways have been upgraded to allow authorities to catch drivers who do more than just go over the speed limit.

A major new upgrade to the cameras will now monitor anyone who drives in a shut lane – and anyone breaking the law could receive a £100 fine and three points on their licence.

National Highways, which maintains motorways and trunk roads, tweeted: “There's no eXcuse – don't ignore the red X.

“It's illegal to drive in a red X lane and motorway cameras can now automatically detect drivers who flout the law.

“You could receive a £100 fine and get three points on your licence.”

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The red X on motorways is “mandatory and legally enforceable if breached or ignored”, National Highways added.

Over 1,500 traffic cameras are owned by National Highways – formerly Highways England – and have been used to assist with traffic management in England for nearly 30 years.

The upgrade comes after an investigation reportedly found that more than one in 10 CCTV cameras used to spot motorists who have broken down on a smart motorway do not function properly.

The Daily Mail reported last month that 112 cameras out of 804 were found to be broken, unusable or pointing away from the road.

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It said this is based on analysis carried out on 17 September by a journalist working undercover for National Highways, at a regional control centre in South Mimms, Hertfordshire.

National Highways launched an inquiry into the allegations, but said that fatalities are less likely on smart motorways than on conventional roads.

Chief executive Nick Harris said: “If there is a problem with any one part of the system, other parts are activated to help keep traffic moving safely.

“Our traffic officers work around the clock, every day of the year to help drivers and deal with incidents. We are, however, investigating these allegations as a matter of urgency.”

There are about 375 miles of smart motorway in England, including 235 miles without a hard shoulder.

An additional 300 miles are scheduled to be opened by 2025.

Watch: Who are 'Insulate Britain'?

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