A report from a Transport Select Committee has told the Department for Transport that there is not enough safety and economic data to justify continuing the rollout of so-called smart motorways which do not have a hard shoulder.
The new-style roads have previously come in for criticism by recovery patrols, road safety campaigners and relatives of those killed.
Reacting to the report, Kate Macnab, lawyer at Reeds Solicitors, said: “Statistics covering the years, 2015-2019 show an increase in the number of live lane fatalities as opposed to a fall in numbers on conventional motorways. Cars that have to stop on the motorway may be able to move to an Emergency Safety Area which are described as ‘places of relative safety’. It is further recommended that these short pull in areas with no adequate lane feed to re-join the motorway, should now be spaced 0.75 miles apart where possible”.
“However, the real danger arises where a vehicle stops on the carriageway. There is complete reliance on the CCTV operators being able to spot the vehicle and close the carriageway. This has caused an increase in fatalities and serious injury accidents. The Department for Transport accepts that improvements need to made, hence their suggested 18-point action plan which includes further technology to identify stationary vehicles”.
“Reducing the mandatory speed limits to smooth traffic flow may be an advantage to this road traffic management but the risk to stationary traffic is highlighted by this TSC Report and has led to the recommendation that expansion plans should be delayed until more evidence is collected”.
“It is important to note that the lane management systems are mandatory which not only include the speed limit restrictions but also the big Red X to close a lane where failure to comply can result in a £100 fine and 3 penalty points.”