Smart motorways have existed in the UK since 2006 and there are now more than 400 miles of smart motorway in England. Highways England have recently confirmed their plans of an additional 300 miles of smart motorways by 2025.

A number of drivers have concerns around the safety of smart motorways. Various petitions have been started with the intention of campaigning for smart motorways to be scrapped.

What is a Smart Motorway?

A smart motorway is a section of motorway which uses traffic management methods, such as differing speed limits to reduce congestion in particularly busy areas. Drivers have since voiced their concerns about the sudden variable speed limit changes. Drivers are braking suddenly to reduce their speed in time to pass through the speed cameras after the sudden change in speed.

Another method used by smart motorways is using the hard shoulder as a running lane. It is this method in particular which has raised concerns for road safety. Usually hard shoulders are marked with a red ‘X’ indicating drivers not to use them. However, at particularly busy times, on a smart motorway, the hard shoulder is used as a running lane. Of course, this means that if a driver’s car has broken down they can be trapped in a lane of oncoming traffic, thus increasing the likelihood of a road traffic accident. In a poll carried out by the RAC almost two thirds of UK drivers said they want the ‘all lane running’ motorways to be scrapped.

Unfortunately, in the last 5 years 38 people have been killed on a smart motorway according to BBC Panorama. One case even resulted in Highways England being referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Government have introduced significant changes into the way in which road traffic accidents are processed and compensated. Therefore, it is vital that appropriate legal advice is obtained following a road traffic accident.

If you, or someone you know, has been involved in a road traffic accident on a smart motorway, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. For a free initial consultation to discuss your claim, please call Farleys’ personal injury team today on 0845 287 0939, send your enquiry by email or chat to us through the online chat below.