Smart motorways to undergo urgent review

The review has come too late for some, as death toll reaches 38 people in five years

motorway gantries

IN news that many motorists will applaud, the UK’s network of so-called smart motorways is to be urgently reviewed with the UK Transport Secretary, Grant Schapps saying that smart motorways have to be “as safe or safer as regular motorways or we shouldn’t have them at all.”

The news comes after new statistics unearthed by the BBC shows the M25, most of which is covered by smart motorways, has 20-times more near misses. The worrying statistic though is that the death toll on the UK’s smart motorways has risen to 38 people in just five years. Motoring organisation chiefs conclude that many of these deaths could have been avoided.

A freedom of information request made by the BBC Panorama programme, found that in five years one section of the M25 saw just 72 near-misses before conversion. In the five years after becoming a smart motorway, there were 1,485 such dangerous incidents. Panorama’s investigation also revealed that one of the electronic warning signs was out of action for 336 days.

The Guardian reports that Edmund King, president of the AA, claimed the current system is not fit for purpose. He said, “The real scandal is the avoidable deaths – people who have broken down in a live lane and been unable to move until a vehicle has ploughed into the back of them.”

Transport Secretary, Grant Schapps, added, “We absolutely have to have these as safe or safer as regular motorways or we shouldn’t have them at all.”

Have you or somebody you know had a near miss on a smart motorway? Let us know in the comments below