Smart motorway: Radio caller recalls breaking down in fast lane
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A group of MPs have called for a pause on the rollout of the smart motorways across the UK until their safety can be ensured. In a report, the Commons’ Transport Select Committee said there was not enough safety and economic data to justify continuing with the plans.
Smart motorways were introduced in 2014 and can be found in three different formats: controlled, dynamic hard shoulder and all lane running.
They use cameras to keep an eye on traffic and use traffic calming measures to ease congestion on the roads.
Large overhead signs and roadside information boards are used to warn drivers about queues, speed limits, closed lanes and any diversions.
All-lane running roads permanently remove the hard shoulder and instead use it as a live lane which can be closed in the event of an emergency.
This has caused some issues for drivers who say they fear for their safety on smart motorways in the event of them breaking down.
In the event of a breakdown, emergency refuge areas are provided at regular intervals for drivers in trouble.
It is estimated that there are around 375 miles of smart motorways in England, 235 miles of which are without a hard shoulder.
According to Government figures from 2020, 38 people were killed on smart motorways between 2014 and 2019.
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Louis Rix, co-founder and COO at CarFinance247, called for the Government to do more research before continuing with the rollout.
He said: “Calls for safety checks on smart motorways are completely justified.
“The prospect of driving on the hard shoulder goes against our basic human nature, so smart motorways can seem daunting for road-users, fuelling driving anxiety.
“What’s particularly alarming are the death rates (which are up to a third higher than on motorways with a hard shoulder, according to the Department for Transport) and reports of safety cameras not working.
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