All lanes running, or smart motorways are still being constructed across the UK, despite vocal opposition from campaigners and public alike. The abolition of the hard shoulder to keep traffic moving does place drivers at risk, as there are limited numbers of lay-bys available for vehicles that are breaking down.
Some 63 fatalities have been recorded between 2015-19 and the biggest danger for drivers is arguably suffering a sudden engine failure and being stuck in lane one with HGVs approaching behind. The government insists that it has learned from errors made in the past regarding the frequency of emergency lay-bys, plus installing more CCTV tech to monitor the ALR motorways for hazards and broken down vehicles.
Here’s the RAC reaction to the latest govt report;
Reacting to the publication of the second year progress report following the smart motorways stocktake and action plan announced in 2020, 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.
While the Government is keen to point out that all-lane-running smart motorways tend to have a better overall safety record than conventional motorways, the safety comparisons with other types of smart motorways are less impressive.”