Do You Think Smart Motorways Are Safe?

Thu 30th Jan 2020

After a major TV documentary exposed the dangers of smart motorways, a new survey has revealed that only 12 per cent of drivers feel safe on them.

BBC Panorama’s investigation found that 38 people had been killed on smart motorways in the past five years and now a huge survey of more than 17,000 drivers shows that just 12 per cent of motorists feel they are as safe as traditional motorways. Two in five drivers think that there should be no more smart motorways introduced into the UK network and 15 per cent of those polled by the AA feel that all existing smart motorways should be scrapped.

When smart motorways are fully in operation, drivers that break down are encouraged to make their way to ‘Emergency Refuge Areas’, though these can be placed more than 1.5 miles apart as standard and the AA is arguing that the ERAs should be installed at intervals of three quarters of a mile. The AA recently revealed that their company policy is not to stop for drivers on a smart motorway, but to encourage the driver to wait for Highways England to tow them to a safe location.

In a statement on Monday, the AA’s president, Edmund King said: “Drivers don't trust smart motorways and with 38 per cent of breakdowns occurring in live lanes that is not surprising.

“There is much confusion and fear out there. If the Government is not going back to the drawing board to reinstate the hard shoulder, then the least they can do is to double the number of emergency refuge areas to every three-quarters of a mile.

“The current system is not fit for purpose and too many tragic and avoidable deaths are occurring.”