Rethink Urged On Deathtrap Smart Motorways

Mon 17th Dec 2018

Campaigners and politicians are asking for a review on the Government’s policy of implementing smart motorways across the UK following a series of accidents.

There were 29 collisions on smart motorways last year, where a vehicle has broken down or stopped in the hard shoulder and MPs are now debating on whether the so-called smart option may actually be putting motorists at risk.

The smart motorways or ‘All Lane Running’ motorways were introduced widely at the beginning of the last decade and currently there are more than 100 miles of smart motorway in England, with the figure likely to double to 225 over the next six years.

According to Highway England figures published by the RAC, there were 16 serious crashes on the 100 miles of ALR motorway in 2017, and a further 29 crashes involving vehicles stuck on the hard shoulder.

The problem arises when a hard shoulder is made available as an additional lane, but where other drivers aren’t aware that it hasn’t been made live. One family spoke out on national radio this week to make the public aware of the dangers.

Ellie Montgomery said there her husband and three daughters were like a ‘sitting duck’ as their car was struck by a lorry whilst stationary in the hard shoulder on the M6.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Ellie said: "It turns the motorway into a deathtrap. There is no amount of technology that can overcome the danger of not having a hard shoulder as a safety net."

A spokesman for Highways England said that smart motorways make the roads more reliable and safe: “Smart motorways are good for drivers; they add extra lanes giving extra space so more people can travel, they use technology which makes journeys more reliable and evidence proves they are as safe as traditional motorways, which are already among the safest roads in the world.

"Feedback from road users show the majority feel confident driving on a smart motorway, and that they are safer and improve journey times."