Smart motorways: Inquiry launched by MPs into controversial highways amid safety fears

Smart motorways: Inquiry launched by MPs into controversial highways amid safety fears

2/26/2021 3:22:00 PM

Smart motorways: Inquiry launched by MPs into controversial highways amid safety fears

The use of the carriageway's hard shoulder by vehicles aims to increase capacity, but worries persist over the danger they pose.

, 44, and Alexandru Murgeanu, 22, on the M1 in South Yorkshire in June 2019 was the careless driving of lorry driver Prezemyslaw Szuba, who ploughed into their vehicles as they stood stationary in lane one following a minor shunt.But recording a conclusion of unlawful killing, Mr Urpeth said:"I find, as a finding of fact, it is clear a lack of hard shoulder contributed to this tragedy."

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It has led South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner (PCC) Dr Alan Billings to call for the smart motorway on the M1 to be scrapped, branding it"inherently dangerous".Image:Jason Mercer, 44, was killed in a crash on a smart motorway. Pic: South Yorkshire Police

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the select committee earlier this month that he"inherited" smart motorways, and vowed to"get rid of confusions".These included"insane" dynamic hard shoulders, which switch between being used for emergencies and live traffic depending on demand.

He has published a smart motorways18-point action planaimed at improving safety.Tory MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the committee, said:"The Department for Transport says smart motorways help us cope with a 23% rise in traffic since 2000, helping congestion.

"The department's own stocktake report points to lower fatal casualty rates for smart motorways without a permanent hard shoulder than on motorways with a hard shoulder. The serious casualty rate is slightly higher."This message isn't reaching the public, whose confidence in smart motorways has been dented by increasing fatalities on these roads.

"Road safety charities are also expressing concerns. Will enhanced safety measures help? Will the public accept them following an awareness campaign? Or should there be a rethink of government policy?"There are genuine worries about this element of the motorway network and we want to investigate how we got to this point."

Labour's shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said:"Dozens of people have lost their lives on smart motorways, so this investigation is welcome."A Department for Transport spokeswoman said:"Since taking office, the current secretary of state has expressed his concerns over smart motorways and has committed £500m to safety improvements.

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Any enquiry should take account of driver behaviour and error, and compare dual carriage roads that don't have hard shoulder/refuge area Smart motorways. Grenfell. Covid 19. This Govt seams hell bent on harming its own people. Whoever thought of this should be certified. When a car breaks down it doesn't do it in a 'refuge' area. It often does it where it sees fit & if you're incredibly lucky you might get it onto the grass verge, pavement or hard shoulder. Choosing to have none of these is crazy!

No hard shoulder then nowhere safe to stop how stupid these Governments are.