MP Calls For Smart Motorways To Be Scrapped
The MP Mike Penning who helped to put Smart Motorways into action claims he was misled, and he has now joined many voices in the motoring industry who are calling for smart motorways to be scrapped amid ongoing concerns about their safety.
Mike Penning, MP while on Good Morning Britain was quoted as saying ““He was misled, Smart Motorways have been implemented in a way that is vastly different to what was proposed to me back then”.
Smart Motorways are deployed on the UK’s busiest motorway sections, they employ several strategies for reducing congestion, these measures can either be deployed permanently or at peak times. The Highway Code was recently updated to include new guidance about Smart Motorways with ongoing concerns that many drivers do not fully understand the rules when driving on a section of Smart Motorway.
One of the most controversial measures on Smart Motorways is the use of the hard shoulder as an additional lane these are often to referred to as ‘All-lane’ smart motorways. This can present several safety issues; if you breakdown on a Smart Motorway retiring to a designated safe place can be problematic and there have been several deaths in these scenarios. As the Smart Motorway network has been expanding the number of tragedies has been going up, year on year.
When the hard shoulder is deployed as an active lane, cameras are used to detect stationary vehicles, these cameras can then notify control so they can deploy the red cross for the lane to tell motorists they must not enter the lane.
There are number of potential pitfalls with this, firstly there will be delay between a motorist breaking down and the lane being closed, secondly another vehicle could potentially ignore or not see the red cross and still enter the lane.
Other safety concerns are having to leave your vehicle to get beyond a barrier to a designated safety zone, and some people have even reported shear drops just beyond these barriers/designated safe areas.
Amid concerns that a small number of drivers are not obeying the rules, Highways England are rolling-out heavier fines and penalties for motorists who drive red cross lanes.
Many MPs and experts in the motoring industry are calling for any further expansion of ‘All-Lane’ smart motorways to be halted while there are further reviews of how best to improve safety, in some quarters there are calls for All-Lane systems to be abolished completely.