A report has been submitted to the Department of Transport regarding the smart motorways and the increase in the number of deaths.
Figures show that controlled motorways – which use technology to compliment the hard shoulder – are safer than both conventional and smart motorways. Data showed that while fatality rates were lower on smart motorways in 2015, 2016 and 2017, they had risen above normal motorways in 2018 and 2019.
The UK government and Highways England have insisted that smart motorways are safe compared to those that operate with a hard shoulder, but these new figures cast doubt on those claims. A spokesperson for the DfT said that although figures suggest a concerning trend, longer-term averages were needed to establish a pattern.
A spokesman said: “The data shows fatalities are less likely on smart motorways than on conventional ones. “This conclusion has been made by looking at the average trends over a number of years, which is essential to mitigating volatility in the casualty data.”
Why there has to be a 4th lane was beyond me. Is this a cheaper alternative than actually trying to extend the motorways and make it fit for the 21st Century?
Don’t get me wrong travelling in a car can be pretty scary at the best of times and getting stuck between two lorries when you only come up to the height of their wheels is pretty nerving, but fancy having the worry of breaking down and realising that you have to get out of the car and grab your family, whilst trying to negotiate the fast-moving traffic.
There are of course the little orange laybys some 1 mile apart but did the Department of Transport not realise that cars break down just like that. A car is an inanimate object that when it breaks down does not think it has to get to the safe area, it just breaks down and then people are forced to try and get to safety. It is bad enough in the day but what about the night-time and what about the AA or RAC chaps who come out to fix a vehicle. Their lives are in danger too as the traffic is not stopped as it is for the police, fire serve and ambulance and that is just playing with peoples lives. It is not fair, and it is not right and all for a cheap alternative.
I know that to update the motorways would have caused disruption and the cost, but what is the cost compared to the lives of the people killed on them.
The fact that the government is so quick with their dismissal of the actual figures is cause for concern. The smart motorways are an accident waiting to happen and this motorway is a killer when you break down. How could breaking down on the motorway with no place to go not be? This is stupidity of a monumental making and it is going to get worse not better.
I have travelled along the new smart motorways and there is very little space between lanes and that is not welcoming to start with, and the traffic is moving very fast…what happens when you break down? The car behind you is not contemplating you breaking down and then…hit…..
The government needs to look at a different way of getting the motorways to work as the smart motorway is not the way forward. It is dangerous and deadly.
A stretch of one of England’s major roads has seen a 20-fold increase in these incidents in the five years since being converted to a smart motorway. The hard shoulder was removed from a section of Greater London’s orbital motorway, the M25, in 2014 to make way for an extra driving lane. The BBC found there have been 1,485 near misses since the overhaul – incidents “with the potential to cause injury or ill health.” In the previous five years, there were just 72. 38 people killed on smart motorways in last five years, BBC Panorama reveals | RAC Drive 27th January 2020.
Last year a Panorama report said the Government said there had been 38 fatalities between 2015 and 2019, which Grant Shapps later revealed was 39.
But Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon told MPs a ‘stocktake’ has shown 63 people lost their lives on the controversial all lane running (ALR) smart motorways over the same period. (www.dailymail.co.uk) 29th April 2021
One death on these motorways is one too many and the whole thing needs to be re-thought and redone as the incident toll will only get higher.