RAC Calls For `Dynamic Hard Shoulders’ on Smart Motorways

The UK government continues to keep kicking any final decision on so-called Smart Motorways down the road, with yet another Committee report today. The latest strategy is a five year pause on further roll-outs of Smart Motorway schemes, until a clearer view of the safety risks is gained, basically gather more data.

Here’s some reaction from the RAC;

“We welcome the committee’s report which once again raises many of the concerns about ‘all lane running’ motorways expressed by both drivers and the RAC. While the Government’s stock-take added some much-needed urgency to making these roads safer, it remains the case that permanently removing the hard shoulder continues to be deeply unpopular with many drivers, with our research clearly showing that drivers are opposed to the removal of the hard shoulder because of the increased risks they are exposed to if they have to stop in a live lane.

“By the committee calling for the roll-out of all lane running smart motorways schemes to be paused, the Government would have time to evaluate a more complete set of safety data. The committee’s call to retrofit existing smart motorways with more refuge areas would also make these stretches of road safer than they are today, something we’ve long called for. But whether these and other actions are enough to convince drivers of the merits of all lane running remains to be seen.

“We feel a huge question mark remains over whether it’s right that yet more money is spent on rolling out further all lane running smart motorways when there are clearly viable alternatives available. We’d like to see the Government take a second look at the benefits of dynamic hard shoulder schemes as a matter of urgency.”

IE Comment; The sooner these death trap motorways are converted back to roads with hard shoulders, the better. People have died in horrible accidents, why on earth are we building roads that leave drivers and passengers broken down in four busy lanes of fast-moving traffic? 

It’s interesting that neither the RAC or AA will attend a breakdown on a Smart Motorway unless the lane is closed completely. They obviously perceive an unacceptable risk to their own staff which begs the question; if it’s unsafe to attend a breakdown then surely it’s unsafe to actually suffer a breakdown on a Smart Motorway?

The Guardian offers more backgroud on the 39 deaths on Smart Motorways since 2015 here. It is tough reading, because behind every statistic there is a shattered family and friends network, devastated by what they see as an easily avoidable accident. If there had been a hrd shoulder, the outcome could have been non-fatal. Ther eis the possibility that soem senior civil servants and politicians may face legal action one day over these decisions. Insurers too, rightly concerned with withdrawing cover from carbon related industries because of its impact on the planet, should consider if insuring Smart Motorway projects is actually enabling deaths on the roads in the future by underwriting flawed thinking and poor road design.

About alastair walker 7798 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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