Report prompts new call to ban smart motorways

Report prompts new call to ban smart motorways

By Michael Upton | 27/05/2022

Report prompts new call to ban smart motorways

 

MP SARAH Champion renewed her call for smart motorways to be scrapped after a new damning report she said highlighted the danger of removing the hard shoulder.

Figures published in National Highways’ Second Year Progress Report on smart motorways show that the rate of incidents involving injury or death on all-lane-running motorways such as the one running through Rotherham is more than double that of conventional motorways.

Ms Champion, who has campaigned against the controversial road set-up following the death of constituent Jason Mercer, of Broom, said: “This new data is shocking, but sadly, far from surprising.

“My own research has previously demonstrated the huge increase in the number of vehicles becoming stranded in live lanes following the removal of the hard shoulder.

“Given the inherent risk this presents, it was inevitable that an increase in serious incidents would be the result.”

Ms Champion, MP for Rotherham, has written to transport secretary Grant Shapps, to urge him to commit to restoring the hard shoulder across the motorway network.

The government has so far paused the approval of any further smart motorways until five years of safety data is available, while National Highways committed earlier this year to extra safety measures including more emergency refuges.

“While safety improvements are welcome, I do not believe that they can ever fully compensate for a fundamentally flawed road design,” said Ms Champion.

“These figures confirm what was already obvious to anyone who has driven on an all-lane-running motorway — these roads are death traps.

“They should never have made it off the drawing board, still less been allowed to be widely rolled out without sufficient safety data.”

National Highways has previously claimed smart motorways improve safety by using technology to regulate speed limits and close lanes and by increasing capacity, keeping more traffic off A-roads and smaller roads.