Road users not complying with ‘red X’ signs on the motorway should face penalties, the RHA has said, after a Transport Committee report highlighted low levels of compliance with the road safety measure.

The select committee’s report into all-lane running addressed a “shocking degree of non-compliance” with ‘red  X’ signals, after an evaluation of M25 road users showed 7% didn’t comply with the instruction. A previous report by Highways England found close to a third of motorists didn't know what 'red x' warnings meant.

RHA director of policy Jack Semple said the UK needed a “transformation in road users’ attitudes”.

A “practical sanction”, he said, “with a camera to capture the registrations of offenders and automatically issue a fixed penalty notice” would be the way to do this.

"It is already an offence to go through a ‘red X’ but the only way of imposing a penalty is for a police officer to be on the spot and witness the offence taking place. A camera-based system would allow effective remote enforcement.”

Semple added said: “We do not make a habit of calling for new penalties for drivers but, in this case, the law has fallen behind what is needed to ensure our roads run smoothly and safely.

Drivers not complying with ‘red X’ signals “increases road safety risks where there is a need for a lane closure. It is also frustrating for law-abiding drivers to see others going to the head of the queue illegally”, he said.

A spokesman for the DfT said that “changes to legislation to support improved compliance with 'red X' are being considered”.

He added: “Our motorways are among the safest in the world but we are determined to reduce accidents further.

“We are working with Highways England to increase public awareness of how these lanes are used. They are in place to protect road users who may have broken down or been involved in an incident, while keeping traffic moving.”