A police chief found that Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps has admitted that smart highways are not as safe in all respects as the older lanes they replaced.
Dr. Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said the South Yorkshire M1 route was a “constant danger to anyone unlucky enough to either collapse or ride on it” and requested its removal.
It comes after that An occupant of a stationary car in a lane between Barlborough and Aston had to be rushed to hospital after a truck collided with it last Friday.
This morning, Dr. Billings revealed a letter to Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps warning of their dangers and has now received a response.
He added, “His answer contained an interesting sentence for me. He said, “general evidence shows that these smart highways are as safe or safer than traditional highways in most cases, but not in all respects”.
“Now it is the ‘not in every way’ bit that we need to focus on because it is absolutely right that every bit does not stop someone and is not recognized.”
Dr. Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said the M1 route was a “constant danger”. In the picture: intelligent motorway along the M1
Dr. Alan Billings revealed the contents of the letter he had received from the Secretary of Transportation
Pictured: The M1 was closed in both directions between intersections 30 and 31 after the crash last Friday
The details of the note were released on Radio 4 this morning and came after Dr. Billings had called for the M1 smart system to be discontinued.
He said, “I said, as long as it stayed in place, it was a constant danger to anyone unlucky enough to either collapse in it or drive along if another vehicle broke down.
“Since then, two coroners have raised serious concerns about the smart highway in South Yorkshire, and I have written to the Secretary of Transportation to express my grave concerns.
Last Friday we had another incident where a heavy commercial vehicle collided with a stationary car in an active lane.
“One of the occupants of the car was flown to the hospital with very serious injuries.”
The PCC added: “I am forced to reiterate my concerns and urge Highways England and the Department of Transportation to reconsider this type of motorway.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who uses this stretch of the highway like me who doesn’t feel scared while driving.”
He said, “I urge the Minister and Highways England to abandon this kind of smart highway before we have serious injury or death.”
Nargis Begum (pictured with her husband) from Sheffield died on a stretch of the M1 in South Yorkshire near Woodhall Services in September 2018
Jason Mercer (left), 44, and Alexandru Murgeanu (right), 22, died when a truck was plowed into their standing vehicles on the M1 near Sheffield on June 7th last year
Last week, a coroner investigating the death of 62-year-old grandmother Nargis Begum on the smart highway referred Highways England to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to see if the corporate manslaughter charge was appropriate.
Ms. Begum, mother of five and grandmother of nine, was out of the car and waiting for help when another vehicle collided with the Nissan and plowed it into her.
The stranded Nissan had its hazard warning lights on when the other vehicle collided with it, but the lane without a hard shoulder had not been closed to traffic.
During a pre-investigation check in Doncaster on Monday, coroner Nicola Mundy heard how 16 minutes and 21 seconds had passed between the Nissan’s collapse and the collision.
Mrs Begum died in South Yorkshire in September 2018 at Woodall Services on a stretch of the M1 without a hard shoulder.
And last month, another coroner concluded that smart highways “pose an ongoing risk to future deaths.”
Sheffield coroner David Urpeth said the leading cause of death for Jason Mercer, 44, and Alexandru Murgeanu, 22, on the M1 in South Yorkshire in June 2019 was careless driving by truck driver Prezemyslaw Szuba, who was stalled in their Vehicles got plowed in lane one after a small shunt.
Taking up the conclusion of an unlawful murder, Mr. Urpeth said, “I find, as a factual finding, it is clear that a lack of a hard shoulder contributed to this tragedy.”
In November, nine more smart highways without hard shoulders were allowed to continue despite warnings.
The new stretches of freeway covering a total of 138 miles will see A 32 mile segment on the M3, 17 miles on the M6, 23 miles on the M1 and another 10 mile segment on the M3.
The intelligent motorway network in England extends for around 500 miles. Another 300 miles are planned by 2025.
There are currently more than 20 sections of “smart highways” on seven different highways
Highways England first set up intelligent motorways on which drivers can at least temporarily use the hard shoulder to avoid traffic jams and improve the flow of traffic.
In January, police federation chairman John Apter said the roads were dangerous and endanger both drivers and police.
Mr. Apter, who represents ordinary officers, insisted, “You are a death trap. The country, the police, and we have been completely misled about the technology.
‘A poorer system has been put in place and it continues to be implemented despite the dangers involved. Smart highways are inherently dangerous. ‘
What are the three types of “smart” highways and how do they work?
In all lane schemes, the hard shoulder is permanently removed and converted into a lane.
On these types of motorway, the first lane (previously the hard shoulder) is only closed to traffic in the event of an incident.
In this case, a lane closure is indicated by a red X on the portal above. This means that you need to get out of the lane as quickly as possible.
All lane motorways also have overhead portal signs indicating the mandatory speed limit.
Should drivers fail or be involved in an accident, emergency accommodation is available on the side of the road.
Controlled highways have three or more lanes with variable speed limits but keep a hard shoulder. The hard shoulder should only be used in a real emergency.
These variable speed limits are displayed on overhead portal signs. If no speed limit is displayed, the national speed limit applies. Speed cameras are used to enforce these.
In “dynamic” running with hard shoulders, the hard shoulder is opened up as a lane for traffic during rush hour in order to reduce overload.
On these stretches, a solid white line distinguishes the hard shoulder from the normal road. Overhead signs on portals indicate whether the hard shoulder is open to traffic or not.
The hard shoulder should not be used if the labels above are blank or display a red X, except in an emergency.
A red X on the portal above means you need to get out of the lane as soon as possible.
Overhead bridges on these types of motorway also have the prescribed speed limit, which varies depending on the traffic situation. Speed cameras are used to enforce this – no speed limit indicates the national speed limit is in place.