Smart motorway speed cameras can catch you out 24-hours-a-day – even if there’s no variable speed limit displayed

BRITS will be snapped by speed cameras 24-hours-a-day on smart motorways, according to traffic cops.

Motorists will be issued with fines for breaking the 70mph limit on sections of the M1 – even if there’s no variable limit displayed on an overhead gantry.

Cameras are switched on 24/7, but were thought to only snap drivers who were caught breaking a limit that’s flashed up on the signs.

But, according to The Derby Telegraph, Brits who go over 70mph on the smart motorway sections of the M1 when the roads are clear could also be penalised.

The standard fine for being caught speeding is £100 and three points – but for more serious offences the punishment can rocket.

New cameras are now in operation on the stretch of motorway near East Midlands Airport.

The section of the M1 between junctions 23a (Nottingham/East midlands Airport) and 24 (Derby) now has four lanes and a hard shoulder, and will use variable speed limits.

And even if overhead gantries don’t display a speed limit, drivers could be caught on camera for speeding over the 70mph national limit.

A spokesman for Highways England said: “If no special speed limit is displayed then the national speed limit applies.

“A speed limit displayed inside a red circle is legally enforceable. If you don’t keep to this speed limit, you are breaking the law.

“Speed cameras are in operation on smart motorways. If you don’t keep to the speed limit, you may receive a fine.”

Derby road safety chiefs previously revealed they were “shocked” to discover their section of the M1 was the most profitable in 2017 – between Tibshelf services and junction 29A at Duckmanton.

Four cameras snapped over 8,000 drivers – with one caught maxing out at 128mph.

Darren Roberts, manager of the Casualty Reduction Enforcement Support Team (CREST) for Derbyshire police, said prosecuting more people will help stop speeders.

“The cameras are not there to generate money,” he told The Derby Telegraph.

“They are there to catch speeders, get reckless drivers off the roads and ultimately lead to a reduction in collisions.”

The M1 is just one of a number of stretches being converted into smart motorways alongside the M6, M25, M3, M20 and M5.

And the strict 70mph rules could be adopted by other forces beyond Derbyshire, too.

The roads use overhead gantries to control traffic flow by changing speed from the national speed limit down to 30mph if there’s traffic ahead.

The hard shoulder can also be made into a live lane at peak hours – and you can be fined £100 if you ignore the Red Xs overhead, too.

The smart motorways have come under fire recently after being branded “death zones” for having nowhere to stop.

Highways England responded by agreeing to install extra lay-bys for emergency stops.