GENERAL NEWS

SMART MOTORWAYS - THE TROUBLES RUMBLE ON

CONTROVERSY OVER SMART MOTORWAYS IS DEEPENING...

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Public concern over the UK roll out of smart motorways is rife and increasing, mainly in regard to the use of All Lane Running or ALR. ALR basically means the  conversion of the hard shoulder into a live traffic lane, leaving no lane to pull into when accidents or breakdowns occur.

Smart motorways came in in 2002 and were supposed to help traffic flow and improve safety, but it doesn't seem as if they are currently perceived like that by the public at least. The idea is that the traffic flow is controlled by variable speed limits which are determined remotely by smart monitoring of the road and the traffic on it, and this is supposed to help by being reactive to the amount of traffic and any hold ups on the road.

However there have been several motorway deaths on smart motorways which have been attributed to the fact that there has been no hard shoulder to pull over onto in the event of a crash, leaving the driver exposed to oncoming traffic with nowhere to go. In our last article on this subject we covered the comments from David Urpeth, a coroner investigating smart motorway deaths, who concluded that smart motorways were:
“inherently unsafe and dangerous and should be abandoned”

Due to so many concerns being raised and such a lack of public confidence in them, Parliament's Transport Committee, chaired by MP Huw Merriman is conducting a Parlimentary Inquiry into the safety of smart motorways.
Here's Huw Merriman MP's take on it:
“The Department for Transport says smart motorways help us cope with a 23 per cent rise in traffic since 2000, helping congestion. The Department’s own Stocktake report points to lower fatal casualty rates for smart motorways without a permanent hard shoulder than on motorways with a hard shoulder. The serious casualty rate is slightly higher.
This message isn’t reaching the public, whose confidence in smart motorways has been dented by increasing fatalities on these roads. Road safety charities are also expressing concerns. Will enhanced safety measures help? Will the public accept them following an awareness campaign? Or should there be a rethink of government policy? There are genuine worries about this element of the motorway network and we want to investigate how we got to this point.”

So basically, the government would seem to be arguing that smart motorways are safer than old style motorways, but so far, it looks as though a large percentage of  the public doesn't agree.

The Inquiry is accepting evidence and opinions on smart motorways so here is your chance to have your say and tell them what you think by heading over to this page: committees.parliament.uk –  information will be collected until Saturday 10th April...oh and feel free to let us know your thoughts as well by emailing news@wemoto.com or tell us on Facebook.

Posted by Lucy England
for Wemoto News on 03 March 2021 in General News

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