A total of 23 motorists have been warned about their driving after they used the hard shoulder to get off the motorway when a broken down vehicle caused delays.
On 6 November 2015, a silver VW van broke down near to junction 4 on the coastbound carriageway of the M2. The resulting oil spill from the vehicle meant lanes 2 and 3 were unusable to other vehicles.
But while officers from Highways England managed the incident at the scene, a number of vehicles in the congestion drove on the hard shoulder to exit the motorway.
In total, 23 motorists were recorded by Highways England officers illegally using the hard shoulder and their details were referred to Kent Police.
Twenty two of the drivers agreed to either pay a fine or take a drivers’ awareness course.
One motorist, Michael Steed, 57, from Essex opted to go to Medway Magistrates’ Court on Monday 6 June where he was given a £100 fine and his driving licence was endorsed with three points.
Chief Inspector Amanda Tillotson said: ‘It can be inconvenient to motorists when there are traffic delays, we understand that, but the hard shoulder is only to be used by vehicles that break down or the emergency services.
‘If there is congestion and the hard shoulder becomes blocked and emergency services cannot get passed, the safety of other people is put at risk.
‘This enforcement sends a clear message that irresponsible behaviour by motorists will not be tolerated.’
A Highways England spokesman said: ‘Safety for our road workers and road users is our top priority.
‘Driving on the hard shoulder is dangerous to other road users and delays the reopening of roads.
‘Road traffic officers deserve as safe an environment as possible to do their important work ensuring that our roads are opened as quickly as possible after incidents such as this.’