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Smart Motorways
#1
Thirty-eight people have been killed on smart motorways in the last five years, the government has told BBC Panorama.

It is the first time that the total number of deaths has been reported.

Smart motorways have been criticised because they do not have a hard shoulder and drivers who break down can be trapped in the speeding traffic.

The network is facing an overhaul with the results of a government review due to be announced shortly.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request sent by Panorama to Highways England revealed that on one section of the M25, outside London, the number of near misses had risen 20-fold since the hard shoulder was removed in April 2014.

In the five years before the road was converted into a smart motorway there were just 72 near misses. In the five years after, there were 1,485.

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#2
I have changed my attitude to them. At first when they were restricted to short sections where it was impossible to widen the carriageway to provide extra running lanes, I thought they were acceptable.

But when the Govt decided that Smart Motorways were a great way to increase capacity of the motorway system over huge sections of the system cheaply, I became convinced that it was far too dangerous!

The traditional motorway hard shoulder is what makes our motorways the safest class of road. The loss of the hard shoulder just to save money has turned the “Smart motorway “ into a very dangerous phenomenon.

This dangerous practice must be scrapped. Saving money in this way costs lives!

TF
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#3
About a year ago I was caught in three lanes plus what used to be the hard-shoulder of standing traffic because of a pile-up on the southern section of the M25 a short distance after the Clacket services. Because all the lanes were at a standstill, instead of whizzing down the hard shoulder to the scene, police, fire engines and ambulances were having to thread their way slowly between the lanes of traffic. The sooner the Highway Authorities admit they made a mistake, the better.
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#4
(27-01-2020, 05:05 PM)Jaydug Wrote: About a year ago I was caught in three lanes plus what used to be the hard-shoulder of standing traffic because of a pile-up on the southern section of the M25 a short distance after the Clacket services.   Because all the lanes were at a standstill, instead of whizzing down the hard shoulder to the scene, police, fire engines and ambulances were having to thread their way slowly between the lanes of traffic.  The sooner the Highway Authorities admit they made a mistake, the better.

In this instance the motorists should have the dence to keep centre lane clear like they do in Austria and Germany.
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#5
Programme on Panorama tonight regarding smart motorways
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#6
The Transport Minister is now looking into the situation, so there may be a chance on the way, but I would't hold one's breath. The original "smart" motorway had refuges every 500m but for the newer ones this has gone up to 2500m, which are far too far apart for safety.
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#7
(27-01-2020, 07:28 PM)DianneT Wrote: In this instance the motorists should have the dence to keep centre lane clear like they do in Austria and Germany.

Unfortunately no guidance given from authorities about this. So some may be trying to keep inside clear, others the outside, and just making it worse!

A bit like the merging of two lanes into one where even a mile before the merge do-gooders will block a lane without merging to stop the space they see ahead filling up with the queue, not realising that the tail of the queue is forced further back - sometimes blocking intersections and roundabouts. At least "no-one is going to get in front of me" works for them.
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#8
Commenting on the publication of a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Roadside Rescue and Recovery, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:

“This report shines a light on the huge concerns that exist about the safety of all lane running smart motorways in the event of a breakdown. With more than two-thirds of drivers telling the RAC that the permanent removal of the hard shoulder compromises safety in the event of a breakdown, it is now abundantly clear things need to change. We also know that breaking down in a live lane carries a much higher risk than in a comparative place of safety such as a hard shoulder or an SOS area.

“We have consistently called for the roll-out of stopped vehicle detection radar technology to quickly identify stranded vehicles and additional SOS areas to give drivers a greater chance of reaching one in the event of an emergency, thereby reducing the collision risk. Alongside this, enforcement of lanes closed with red X signs and a smart motorway public information campaign will help improve safety.

“Increasing capacity on our major roads is important, however it is vital that everything is done to reduce the risk to drivers who break down on smart motorways.”
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