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People caught driving wrong way on motorways more than 700 times in five years

Written by on 05/08/2021

More than 18,000 offences have been committed on UK motorways since 2016 – including more than 700 incidents of motorists driving the wrong way, figures show.

Officers issued 17,775 tickets for offences in the past five-and-a-half-years, with 721 given to drivers who went the wrong way or reversed up a motorway or slip road, or made U-turns in mains lanes.

The offences are thought to be caused by elderly or confused drivers, those drunk or on drugs, or those in police pursuit.

Other scenarios have seen drivers missing their exit, and reversing up the motorway to take the junction, or those reversing to avoid a traffic jam after just joining the road.

The figures, from an Auto Express investigation of 28 police forces, found the majority of fines given between January 2016 and May 2021 (6,821), were for illegal stops on the hard shoulder or in refuge areas.

Police in England and Wales also gave out 469 tickets for pedestrians walking by motorways – usually people out of petrol, or migrants getting out of lorries.

A further 304 tickets were given to people who stopped in live lanes and 2,645 were given to those who drove on the hard shoulder.

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This usually happens when drivers run out of petrol, breakdown, or want to jump queues and avoid tailbacks.

Most of these offences result in three penalty points and a £100 fine, but illegal stops on hard shoulders and refuge areas carry a non-endorsable £30 penalty.

Commenting on the findings, Auto Express said: “Almost every collision is caused by human error, and while this can never be eliminated, it is difficult to fathom the thought processes that cause people to make a U-turn on a motorway.

“Those who ride e-scooters on motorways, or make late dives for exits, must also know their actions are dangerous, but behave this way regardless.”

 Sky News

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