Drivers want smart motorway schemes to be scrapped and hard shoulder reinstated

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At least six in 10 want to keep technology that manages traffic flows and detects breakdowns. But only a quarter of more than 2,600 drivers asked by the RAC back Government policy of four permanent lanes and no hard shoulder.

They also want more emergency refuges plus technology to detect stationary vehicles as well as cameras to catch motorists who endanger others by ignoring closed-lane signs.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy, said the RAC had “always had safety concerns about all-lane-running motorways and have raised these by giving evidence to two separate Transport Committee inquiries”.

There has been a big rise in safety fears about smart motorways with 24 percent of drivers saying they are one of their top motoring worries, up from 16 percent last year.

Some 44 percent of drivers over 65 said it was their top concern.

Mr Lyes said: “The only thing that will truly satisfy most drivers is the reinstatement of the hard shoulder.

“This would have the benefit of improved safety features but with less overall capacity.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “Data shows that fatalities are less likely on smart motorways than on conventional ones, but we know some drivers can feel less safe on them.”

She said a speedier rollout of technology to spot stopped vehicles and updated Highway Code guidance, including on where to stop, should “give drivers more confidence”.

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