Majority Of Drivers Want Smart Motorways Cancelled

Mon 20th Sep 2021

Following a series of high-profile accidents, a TV documentary and a string of fatalities, a new survey has found that more than 80 per cent of drivers don’t feel safe when the hard shoulder is removed from motorways.

The research, from the RAC, revealed that six out of ten motorists want smart motorways ditched and have a permanent hard shoulder reinstated. But despite the opposition, the Department for Transport is pushing ahead with expansion plans for the controversial motorways.

“Data shows that fatalities are less likely on smart motorways than on conventional ones, but we know some drivers can feel less safe on them.

“This is why, alongside a raft of other measures, every All Lane Running Motorway will open with technology to spot stopped vehicles. We’re also speeding up the roll out of this technology on previously built stretches of these roads, with it due to be in place by September 2022.

“To help give drivers more confidence, this week we updated The Highway Code to provide further guidance on using smart motorways, including information on where to stop in an emergency and the importance of not driving in a lane closed by a Red X.”

A full government review of the smart motorways was launched last year following a damning Panorama documentary which focused on the fatalities, but regardless of changes such as refuge areas, just 15 per cent of those polled said that they felt safe with the new features.

“Our research reveals the enormous strength of feeling among drivers of all ages about the safety of all-lane-running smart motorways,” said Nicholas Lyes.

"But while there is support for scrapping these across all age groups, it is highest among those aged 45 and over, with 73 per cent wanting to see the end of these schemes.”