HIGHWAYS England has been forced to defend a new motorway safety advert branded insensitive, appalling and provocative.
The ad shows a breakdown-hit motorway driver being urged to “Go Left” \a set to the tune of the Pet Shop Boys hit “Go West” \a by a pair of flies who land on his window.
But the clip was criticised by members of the Smart Motorways Kill group.
Founder Claire Mercer, whose husband Jason died on the M1 in 2019, called it “insensitive, appalling, disturbing” and said she had complained to the Advertising Standards Association.
The South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, called the advert “insensitive” and “provocative” in light of the current concerns around all running lane motorways and an impending parliamentary inquiry.
“In these circumstances, I find it quite extraordinary that Highways England would launch this campaign,” he said.
“At the very least I would expect them to wait until the select committee has issued its findings.”
Mike Wilson, Highways England’s chief highway engineer, said: “First and foremost our deepest sympathies remain with the families and all those affected by these tragic incidents.
“We are determined to do all we can to make our roads as safe as possible and although the tone of the campaign is light-hearted, it is designed to deliver life-saving information in an accessible and memorable way and to keep people safe.”
The Go Left campaign urges people whose vehicles break down to indicate left, stop in an emergency area (or on the hard shoulder), climb out of the passenger side and call Highways England on 0300 123 5000 for help.