Smart Motorways To Get New Cameras

Sat 21st May 2022

While many motorists may worry about the prospect of more cameras on our motorways, National Highways has confirmed that all smart motorways will be fitted with additional safety cameras and radar technology by September.

Smart motorways have been the subject of intense scrutiny over the past few years, with a number of fatalities directly attributed to the controversial road systems. The Department for Transport took the decision to pause the roll-out of any new smart motorways earlier this year, while experts investigated safety data.

During that five-year period, the existing network of All-Lane Running smart motorways will receive safety improvements, with cameras added to aid earlier detection of any issues on the lanes, including stationary vehicles. It is those vehicles that have broken down on the hard shoulder of smart motorways which have caused the problems.

Existing data and research published by National Highways show that smart motorways are statistically safer overall, however when a vehicle is stopped the incidence of collisions is higher.

It is hoped that cameras and radar can allow vehicles that have stopped to be recognised and rescued earlier.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “While good progress is being made in upgrading existing smart motorways by installing stopped-vehicle detection technology and more refuge area signage, the key question is whether these changes are enough to reassure drivers, many of whom firmly believe that removing the hard shoulder compromises safety. 

“The Government is keen to point out that ALR smart motorways tend to have a better overall safety record than conventional motorways, but the safety comparisons with other types of smart motorways are less impressive.”