Motorists are being fined for ignoring temporary speed restrictions on a stretch of motorway. The drivers are being caught out in huge numbers by variable speed cameras, which are switched on at certain times.
Smart motorways reduce speeds when there is congestion or has been an accident, reports Birmingham Live.
More than 3,500 motorists have been clocked breaking the temporary 40mph speed limit on the stretch of M6 in the West Midlands during this year alone – 19 every day on average.
The cameras are in place between junctions 7 and 8 at Great Barr, Birmingham, heading northbound.
It is likely drivers are being caught in large numbers during specific periods when the cameras, typically fixed to gantries running over the motorway displaying the speed limit, are switched on.
The speed limit on smart motorway sections, such as the M6 through the Black Country, is controlled in an effort to keep traffic moving and avoid congestion.
Motorists are frequently witnessed ignoring the temporary limits and the data suggests the cameras are being used to punish those who choose to ignore the slowest speed limit normally seen on the motorway – 40mph – as the numbers fined for breaching other speeds are much lower.
A total of 847 drivers were caught breaking the 50mph limit between junctions 7 and 8 in 2022, up to June, and another 453 for breaching 60mph.
Another stretch of the M6 where drivers are caught in huge numbers is between the M54 exit near Wolverhampton and Junction 10 for Walsall, heading southbound.
Here, 1,472 drivers have been done for ignoring a temporary 50mph speed limit this year, along with another 1,291 who went over 60mph.
Speed camera signs are clearly displayed along the motorway but there has always been uncertainty about how regularly they operate, and in which areas.
The message of police chiefs to drivers is clear – obey the speed limit.
According to motoring organisation the RAC, variable speed cameras “work in a similar way to average speed cameras, but they’re unlikely to be in operation 24/7”.
It adds: “They tend to be used on smart motorways when the speed limit is lowered to ease congestion or in the event of poor weather or some other hazard.”