A senior police official has admitted that he’s uncomfortable with the idea of his family members using smart motorways…
Smart Motorway Confession
A senior police official has openly confessed that he’d rather that his family members don’t use smart motorways; alluding to safety concerns. The Transport Select Committee surveyed a number of industry leaders; seeking to determine whether they’d be happy for their loved ones to drive on motorways using the controversial format; notable for lacking a hard shoulder.
Chris Todd, assistant chief constable at West Midlands Police, said ‘if pushed’ he’d prefer his relatives to have the ‘additional’ safety a hard shoulder provides. He said, “in the way it was described, the all-lanes running (motorway) with ERAs (emergency refuge areas) and with the SVD (stopped vehicle detection) system in place, I would have a high level of confidence”.
He continued, “but if I was pushed for an overall or binary decision, I would probably opt for the controlled motorway; in terms of the additional facilities that it provides from a policing perspective”. In other words, he’d prefer a standard motorway over a smart one; even if the latter had every conceivable safety feature.
The RAC Agrees
Nicholas Lyes, head of policy at the RAC, expressed similar concerns with the smart motorway format. He emphasised the importance hard shoulders have played in road safely, “we fundamentally changed what was needed to be done in the event of a breakdown; because for decades we have had a hard shoulder”.
He added, “then suddenly you take the hard shoulder out and there is a completely different way of having to deal with an emergency breakdown. It is a bit like changing the emergency landing procedures of an aeroplane and not telling the pilot what to do”.
The government is currently under pressure to scrap the all-lane running smart motorway format; or to completely overhaul its safety features. A number of high-profile, often fatal accidents have attracted numerous condemnations from motoring organisations and road safety charities. Most of the accidents involved broken down vehicles becoming stranded in live lanes, unable to reach a refuge area.
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