Smart Motorway Fatal Crash ‘Inevitable’ Says Motoring Experts

Thu 8th Aug 2019

A major motoring organisation is warning that the UK government could have ‘blood on its hands’ unless it rethinks a controversial change to motorway rules.

The introduction of more and more smart motorways across the UK is leading to hard shoulders being removed and replaced with ‘all lane running’, a change which Highways England insists has reduced casualty rates on roads by 28 per cent. But with latest figures revealing that there have been 3,780 hard shoulder crashes in the last three years, the AA is calling for a rethink on the strategy or else a fatal crash will come sooner or later.

Speaking in the Daily Mail, Edmund King, president of the AA said that a fatality was inevitable: “It will happen”, he said, adding: “What we don't want is them to have blood on their hands.

“It is still better to have the option of stopping on the hard shoulder or in an emergency refuge area rather than in a live lane of traffic praying that oncoming vehicles will not crash into you.
“This is why the AA has been vigorously campaigning for more lay-bys on 'smart' motorways where the hard shoulder is used as a running lane.”

Vehicle breakdowns are at an all-time high according to an investigation by Auto Express, with more and more car owners decided to keep their older car rather buy new, and this is leading to less reliable cars on the roads. And that worry is heightened when it is revealed that the M1 has the most breakdowns in the UK, which is also the road with the most ‘all-lane running sections’.

Despite the concerns, Highways England is keen to stress the safety record of the new motorways.

“Smart motorways are good for drivers; they add extra lanes so more people can travel and they use technology which makes journeys safer and more reliable,” said a Highways England spokesman.

“Evidence from the schemes has proved that smart motorways are as safe, if not safer, than ordinary motorways, which are already among the safest roads in the world.

“Evidence indicates that since opening, across nine 'all lane running' schemes the casualty rate has reduced by 28%.

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