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People are more likely to be involved in live lane incidents on smart motorways, says a new report by engineering consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV. Based on the report’s findings, a law firm has called on the Department for Transport and Highways England to acknowledge that the development and roll out of ALRs was flawed. If not, legal action will be taken.

The Independent Review of All Lane Running Motorways in England” found that the risk of being involved in a live lane breakdown on an all lanes running smart motorways (ALR) in England is 216% higher than on a standard motorway, as there is no hard shoulder to provide refuge in the event of a collision or breakdown.

Royal HaskoningDHV was commissioned as independent consultants by law firm Irwin Mitchell, who are representing the family of Jason Mercer, who died while driving on an ALR motorway.

The report “lays bare more shocking details” about safety standards on hundreds of miles of the UK’s road network, according to Irwin Mitchell.

Sarah Simpson, a transport planner with 20 years of experience at Royal HaskoningDHV, who authored the report, found that the ALR smart motorway has the lowest level of intrinsic safety of all smart motorways.

She explains in the report that the “best practice” in road safety, known as Safe Systems – which focuses on eliminating the most deadly hazards – wasn’t properly adopted when implementing smart motorways. The same was true of recent decisions on increasing the implementation of smart motorways in England.

Moreover, the report states that people are more likely to be involved in live lane incidents on ALR smart motorways, and that when this happens, “people are more likely to die or be seriously injured”.

“Smart motorways are death traps. I want to prevent any future deaths on smart motorways” – says Claire, of Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Claire and her legal team have issued the report to the UK Government, including Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, as well as senior leaders at Highways England. Irwin Mitchell and Claire have called for the use of ALRs to be stopped. If not, Highways England and the Department for Transport could face legal action.

“We call on the Department for Transport, Grant Shapps, and Highways England to acknowledge that the development and roll out of ALRs was flawed. They must act in accordance with their legal duties and take action to improve safety, or face formal legal action” – adds Associate Solicitor Helen Smith.


Photo credit @ West Midlands Police/ Flickr

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