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CONFIRMED: SMART MOTORWAYS A DEATH TRAP

By Pete Moore On January 26th, 2020

Thirty-eight people have been killed on smart motorways in the last five years, the government has told BBC Panorama […]

Smart motorways have been criticised because they do not have a hard shoulder and drivers who break down can be trapped in the speeding traffic.

That figure of 38 killed is way higher than would be expected given the miles of smart motorways in existence. Five years ago I wrote that these motorways are death traps. It is so obvious that there should be no need to wait some years before counting the bodies. I have to drive on stretches of smart motorway most days. I think I’m a decent, experienced driver and I hate them. Just look at this bit of the M25. If you break down your only hope is to pull over left as far as you can, put the hazards on and scramble out before an LGV makes your day even worse. But hey, a lot of contractors – Tory donors – made big money out of it so someone’s happy.

11 Responses to “CONFIRMED: SMART MOTORWAYS A DEATH TRAP”

  1. Thirty-eight people have been killed on smart motorways in the last five
    years

    How does this compare to deaths in the hard shoulder in the last 5 years?

    We’ve been told that smart motorways are safer because the camera and and sensor system will close the Lane within a few seconds of someone breaking down.
    But the question is; is this fast enough.

  2. Off topic, the HS2 rail folly will go ahead despite now being projected to cost £106 billion instead of £50 billion. And of course it will be years late:

    “A cabinet minister has told the BBC it is his gut feeling that the HS2 high-speed rail line will get the go-ahead. Stephen Barclay told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the project was vital for “levelling up” the UK’s transport network and improving capacity. The Brexit secretary’s comments come amid a row over the rising cost of the project, which could reach £106bn.”

    https://www.atangledweb.org/?p=81598#comments

  3. I don’t see that there are smart motorways in the US

    Looks like this concept is only used in the UK?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_motorway

  4. Dave –

    From the link.

    A Freedom of Information (FoI) request sent by Panorama to Highways England revealed that on one section of the M25, outside London, the number of near misses had risen 20-fold since the hard shoulder was removed in April 2014.

    In the five years before the road was converted into a smart motorway there were just 72 near misses. In the five years after, there were 1,485.

    A “near miss” is counted every time there is an incident with “the potential to cause injury or ill health”.

    That’s too much of an increase to be random.

    A lane is not closed just because a red “X” is displayed above it. Idiot drivers still barrel on, smiling because they can undertake everyone outside them.

  5. Peter –

    If HS2 goes ahead we are looking at £150 billion at least, for a line originally (and corruptly) projected at £36 billion.

    Apparently we can’t spend a 2 or 3 billion getting Chinese hardware out of the 5G network, but any number of billions will be thrown at a pointless rail line.

  6. Pete.

    I have to agree. Based on the evidence, safty doesn’t look good for smart motorways.

  7. Foreigners may not know what HS2 is

    https://www.hs2.org.uk/where/

    It is a major rail construction project That is meant to offer better connections and higher speed rail throughout the UK?

  8. Phantom –

    It is supposed to give faster times and greater capacity between London and northern cities. It will go from London to Birmingham then split, one branch to Manchester and one to Leeds.

    That doesn’t solve a bigger problem, which is connectivity between northern towns and access by public transport into northern towns for commuters.

    Most roads and railways go north-south, on the assumption that everyone is trying to get in or out of London. So trying to go east-west through the Midlands or the North is often a pain. A greater benefit would be had in improving local transport links instead splurging a fortune on a vanity project.

  9. Phantom,

    It is a major rail construction project That is meant to offer better connections and higher speed rail throughout the UK?

    I’m not saying it’s not without it’s problems but I’m pro HS2.
    No the country has regretted getting a high speed rail system. And we desperately need one in the UK.

  10. The US could use high speed rail in parts of the country, but we won’t get it anytime soon

  11. If HS2 goes ahead we are looking at £150 billion at least, for a line originally (and corruptly) projected at £36 billion.

    Yes Pete

    Like all big infrastructure projects the initial cost projections are massaged down in order to get it off the ground and then the truth gradually creeps out in later projections, by which time there is too much political capital invested to make cancellation possible. This is a classic example.

    HS2 will be a colossal waste of taxpayer money, but a wonderful earner for the crony-capitalist construction cartels and the numerous “consultancy” parasites that feed on the public purse. The Tories own this one 100% and shoud have the political courage to call a halt and re-direct railway investment to commuter and cross country in the north of England which is a truly third world level of service at present. Ancient trains, vast overcrowding, appaling lack of punctuality and an unacceptable rate of cancellations. The word is that the northern franchise will be re-nationalised within a few months, but I doubt that. They won’t have the guts to own up to their mistake.