12th February 2020
Smart Motorways have been branded as ‘shockingly careless death-traps’ as reports reveal that 38 deaths have occurred over the last 5 years on these roads.
The Transport Secretary has announced that work on new motorways of this style have been put on hold until a full safety review has been carried out. On Thursday 30 January 2020 Grant Shapps (Transport Secretary) announced that plans for expansion of the system have been cancelled with immediate effect. He further suggested a strong likelihood that existing stretches would revert to conventional, three lanes motorways.
Smart Motorways cover more than 400 miles of England. A £92million project in Kent is on hold while the dangers of the roads are assessed.
A Smart Motorway is a stretch of motorway that uses active traffic management techniques to increase capacity using variable speed limits (indicated above lanes) and includes the hard-shoulder as an active driving lane at peak times.
The benefits are to make journeys smoother, decrease congestion at busy times and to reduce noise and harmful vehicle emissions.
First introduced in 1995, these hard-shoulder-free motorways make up a proportion of the road network in England and are gradually converting motorways across the country. A number of new developments are due to be started in 2020 – 2025.
The absence of a hard shoulder means that many of the victims in the reported 38 deaths have been struck by other vehicles after breaking down without a safe place to stop or pull over.
Another danger is that drivers are confused by the rules of the Smart Motorway which causes speed limits to be broken, drivers becoming frustrated and dangerous lane changes taking place.
Motorways in general, pose a higher risk to road traffic accidents occurring due to the speed and weight of traffic every single day.
Weekday rush-hours before and after work are the most dangerous times where accidents are at their highest levels, along with times where weather makes for challenging driving conditions, such as heavy rain, sleet and fog.
If you are experiencing problems with your vehicle, having a medical emergency or break down on a motorway without a hard shoulder, it can be a difficult to know what to do and can cause panic among motorists.
You should start by gradually slowing down your speed and steadily moving over to the furthest left-hand lane. There are emergency areas marked with blue and orange signs at various points, which you should try and pull into if possible. If you are able to make it into an emergency bay then stop your car as close to the edge of the left-hand lane, put on your hazard lights and fog lights if visibility is poor and exit your vehicle and stand over the barrier. It is important that passengers and babies leave the car too in case it is hit. You should then call for assistance from the roadside.
If you have car issues and you are not able to move over to the left, then put on your hazard lights, gradually come to a halt and exit your car if you can. If it is unsafe to exit – i.e. you are in the middle of the motorway, then keep your seatbelt fastened and call 999. In these instances, it is important to call for help ASAP. Smart Motorway technology will then quickly assist by closing lanes at a regional control centre using CCTV and information from emergency services to manage the flow of traffic.
If you have suffered an injury in a collision on a Smart Motorway or been involved in any type of road traffic accident in the UK then please get in touch with our Personal Injury team today who can help determine if you have a claim.
Where a claim is to be had, our litigators will handle your case all the way through to settlement or court, fighting for you and for the maximum level of compensation.
Common injuries suffered from car accidents include whiplash, broken bones and fractures, head and brain injuries, spinal damage, nerve damage and in some circumstances, sadly death.
These injuries can often mean that victims need medical treatment and/or suffer mobility issues and need to take long periods of time off work which can result in loss of earnings and incurred medical expenses.
If you were involved in an accident that was not your fault then along with speaking to your car insurance company, you should also contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to discuss your situation.
To speak to a trusted expert and get the ball rolling on your compensation claim, call 01256 844888, email email@example.com or speak to our Online Chat Assistant who is available to speak 24/7.
We are here to help and will explain everything fully without using jargon so that you can make an informed decision. We keep you updated throughout the claim process and will give you a realistic guidance on the type of compensation claim you can expect.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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