Drivers have been warned they could soon see an increase in fines for driving in bus lanes as councils begin to crack down on motorists driving illegally.
Motoring experts at Snooper are urging all drivers to brush up on the Highway Code rules surrounding bus lanes to avoid penalty charge notices and hefty fines.
It comes after the news that Reading and Hampshire councils are considering increasing the penalty for drivers using bus lanes, from £20 to £150.
Many drivers are unaware of the rules surrounding bus lanes up and down the country, causing them to receive costly unexpected fines.
Even driving in a bus lane for a few seconds by accident could still see motorists issued with a fine from the local council.
All bus lanes in the UK have blue signs to show their times of operation, during which only buses can use the lanes.
If there are no times or dates displayed on the sign, drivers must be aware that the bus lane is in operation 24/7 and cannot be used at any time.
Motorists have been warned to keep an eye out for any bus lane signage signalling when other vehicles may use that lane, else they could be subject to penalty fines.
Using the bus lane during authorised hours helps to ease up traffic congestion as more lanes are freed up for road users – so it remains important to make use of all lanes when it is legal to do so.
Gary Digva, the visionary behind Snooper cautioned drivers to avoid bus lanes, else not only risk a hefty fine but prevent causing serious accidents, congestion for buses and halting emergency vehicles from getting through.
He said that too many motorists are abusing bus lanes to undertake others and avoid queuing, which is why councils are considering increasing the fine for unauthorised vehicles using them.
Mr Digva, said: “It’s understandable why councils are considering increasing the fines for those driving in bus lanes outside of authorised hours.
“Not only does it go against the Highway Code, but serious incidents can occur, all for just shaving off a couple of minutes to avoid sitting in queuing traffic.
“It’s frustrating to see an open lane to the left of you completely free of any buses or other vehicles whilst you have to wait – but bus lanes are there for a reason. Not only to prioritise bus schedules but to also allow emergency services to travel through quickly.
“With the news that the fine for driving through bus lanes could be increased across the country, drivers do need to remain aware of the rules for when they can and can’t do so.
“Always watch out for a blue sign along the lane telling you the authorised days and hours when cars are able to use the bus lane. Remember that if there are no times displayed on the sign then the bus lane is operational at all hours.
“And if you’re still not sure it’s advisable to stay outside the bus lane until you can fully confirm the authorised times – even if you see others doing so.”