Smart motorways under fire: AA, RAC and Police wouldn’t want their OWN families using them

Smart motorways guide reveals which lanes to avoid

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Speaking to the Transport Select Committee, leaders from the AA, RAC and a pPolice Constable all agreed they would not want their family using the roads. Instead, some of the experts called for a new proposal to introduce some smart technology to traditional motorised with a hard shoulder.

The Select Committee asked the witnesses which road they would prefer their partner or grown-up child drive on.

They were given the choice between a controlled motorway with a hard shoulder or an all-lane running scheme with refuge bays.

Responding, AA President Edmund King said: “100 percent a controlled motorway, no doubt at all.”

Nicholas Lyes, RAC spokesperson agreed but added he wanted to see some additional technology installed.

“I think to answer the question it would be a controlled motorway with a hard shoulder and with additional technology.

“So taking some of the aspects of the smart motorways and putting it on there with the technology to even detect when there was a breakdown in the hard shoulder and notify people.”

Chris Todd, Assistant Chief Constable at West Midlands Police also agreed he would opt for a traditional motorway.

He said he would have a “high level of confidence” in smart motorways if further safety measures were introduced.

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However, he said a controlled motorway with a hard shoulder would provide “additional facilities” to deal with breakdowns.

He told the Committee: “I think in the way the all-lane running with regular ERA’s (Emergency Refuge Area) and with the SVD (Stooped Vehicle Detection) system in place I would have a high level of confidence.

“If I was pushed for an overall non-binary decision I would probably opt for a controlled motorway in terms of the additional facilities that provides from a policing perspective.”

The AA confirmed the Committee is collecting evidence to present to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Highways England to review.

The Committee will then present its findings and recommendations but cannot decide which are acted upon by the Government.

Grant Shapps published an evidence stocktake and action plan for smart motorways in March 2020.

The report sets out an 18 point plan to boost safety including abolishing ‘dynamic hard shoulder’ lanes and introducing more vehicle detection tools and refuge bays.

Summarising, Lillian Greenwood said: “If you have a choice, if you want to design the safest system you would have a controlled motorway because we know that rules out some risks.

“But you wouldn’t take away the hard shoulder because that adds extra risk in.”

She added: “The question is whether we ask the Government to institute what three out of the four of you said you would prefer, which is a controlled motorway with a hard shoulder.

“Or whether to implement its stocktake which would add in the better but not as good Emergency Refuge Areas and Stopped Vehicle Detection technology.

“Why would you go for the second rather than go for the first.”

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