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Mon 3rd Feb 2020

Smart motorway technology may be under fire, but Highways England bosses are standing by their policy of placing variable speed limits on sections of the motorway.

The variable speed limit is signalled on the overhead gantries, advising motorists of a changing speed limit from the standard 70mph. While many drivers believe that the signals are only an advisory message, thousands of drivers will suggest otherwise after a five junction stretch of the M1 brought in £6.2m in fines.

Now, one of the UK’s leading motoring publications, Auto Express, has revealed that there is a grace period in effect to lower your speed when the variable speed comes into action.

More than 60,000 speeding tickets have been issued between junction 30 and 35a on the M1 in Yorkshire, demonstrating that getting done for speeding on the motorway is no longer a myth.

With speed cameras re-calibrating to meet the new limit, it is important to note the government agency’s advice to get your speed in line. 

Speaking to Auto Express, Highways England said: “Following a change in the speed displayed by signals there is a 60-second grace period before HADECS3 cameras start enforcement, giving time for drivers to adapt to the new mandatory speed limit, especially when speed limits are reduced due to slow-moving or queuing traffic up ahead.”

The national speed limit is 70mph, but the speed can be adjusted to 60, 50 or even 40mph if deemed necessary by Highways England. And it is worth noting also that motorists can be caught on camera even if the 70mph is in place.