Smart motorways in the news again....

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mab01uk
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Smart motorways in the news again....

Post by mab01uk »

As usual politicians won't admit they made an expensive mistake of judgement and should back track asap.... :(

How WERE we all driven down the one-way road to disaster on smart motorways?
"Let's play a game. Imagine you were Secretary of State for Transport, and executives from the quango Highways England came to see you with a wheeze about how to increase motorway capacity at relatively little cost.
You'd listen — of course you would. But I wager your jaw would drop in disbelief when the so-called experts explained that their brilliant plan involved turning motorway hard shoulders into an extra lane.
Then you'd ask, what would happen if a car breaks down or runs out of petrol. The clever chaps from Highways England would reply that in that eventuality, the driver would try to make it to the next lay-by. And if that weren't practicable? Well, better not think about that. Probably won't happen...
Any person with a modicum of common sense would send the geniuses packing. But that is not what happened back in 2006, when the Highways Agency (as it was then called) produced its dazzling idea for the Labour Transport Secretary, Douglas Alexander.
That such an obviously hare-brained scheme was adopted, and subsequently championed by politicians of both major parties, tells us a great deal about how we are governed. Or misgoverned.
Smart motorways are in the news again because on Monday a coroner warned that they present an 'ongoing risk of future deaths'. David Urpeth ruled that the lack of a hard shoulder contributed to the deaths of two drivers on the M1.
Jason Mercer and Alexandru Murgeanu were killed near Sheffield in June 2019 after a lorry driven by Prezemyslaw Szuba smashed into a stationary van by which they were standing. Both men died instantly.
A tragedy, but a predictable one. It has been clear for a long time how lethal smart motorways are. In fact, it has been clear from the moment that Highways Agency unveiled a pilot scheme back in 2006 for what were originally known as 'managed motorways'.
According to a BBC Panorama investigation last January, 38 people died on smart motorways over a five-year period. An official report last March came up with a figure of 44 deaths since 2015.
Tory MP Sir Mike Penning, who was Road Safety Minister from 2010 to 2012, told BBC Panorama that he and his colleagues had been misled by the quango. He said: 'What we signed off on is fundamentally different to what we see now, and there is no evidence smart motorways are safe.'
His specific charge was that lay-bys or refuges were supposed to be spaced 500 to 600 metres apart, but the gap between them became much larger — in many cases up to 1.5 miles.
Many motorists have died because they were unable to reach safety after breaking down on what should have been the hard shoulder, but was a motorway lane down which vehicles were travelling at fast speeds."
The full article here:-
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/arti ... rways.html
AndyPen
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Re: Smart motorways in the news again....

Post by AndyPen »

I find I get a little nervous on these motorways when in a classic, for example on my way to the NEC last year in my Cosworth I became very aware as to just how far apart these safety areas are, and you can't even pull up onto the grass due to the barriers ;-(
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mab01uk
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Re: Smart motorways in the news again....

Post by mab01uk »

And if you come to a stop close to the barriers your passengers can only exit the car into the traffic speeding past....no one in their right mind would want to stay in the stationary car in what is a live lane....but with all the money spent on this mad project no one wants to lose face and admit it was a huge mistake and the loss of life will be blamed on other factors wherever possible.
goff
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Re: Smart motorways in the news again....

Post by goff »

Mab this incident ! both drivers got into a argument while driving , then pulled up in the live lane and both got out of their vehicles to have words , sad what happend next , But has you say ! these smart motorways are crazy , if there had been a hard shoulder both probably would have lived .
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Spider
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Re: Smart motorways in the news again....

Post by Spider »

And they call these ' Smart Motorways ' ?

If these are that dangerous, I'd hate to think how bad a ' Dumb Motorway ' would be :o


Are the people who even listen to such stupidity that brainless ?
hanlminiman
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Re: Smart motorways in the news again....

Post by hanlminiman »

Way back in 1985ish, I had just collected my car from the repair shop and was driving in the outside lane of a busy 3 lane motorway in my 2 door car with 2 young kids strapped in the back seats when what I thought at the time was smoke coming through the bonnet grille, 1st thought fire. The kids were 6 & 4. I assessed the situation and after checking my mirrors indicated left and said to the older child. "When we get onto the hard shoulder undo your sisters belts and follow you Mum over the barrier." He did. No mobile phones in those days and I had to find an emergency phone; more danger.
It was like smoke but it was actually an air lock in the water pipes which boiled the water.
I never did understand why they decided to abandon hard shoulders (other than it was cheaper than acquiring more land!)
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mab01uk
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Re: Smart motorways in the news again....

Post by mab01uk »

Out of interest what is the current policy on Motorway 'Hard Shoulders' in other countries? Are any others adopting 'Smart Motorways' or similar 'widening on the cheap.' I have always been impressed by the high standards French Autoroutes but I seem to remember Spanish motorways have very narrow or no hard shoulders which made me worried about breaking down on them in the past.

July 2029:-
Matt Pates, of Highways England, said smart motorways were 'as safe, if not safer' without hard shoulders
That's despite motoring groups stating they put drivers in unnecessary danger
Emergency services also argue that it is more difficult to attend call outs as there is no hard shoulder for them to pass traffic affected by the issue they're going to
Concerns have grown following the death of two drivers in 6 months on the same section of all-lane-running smart motorway
The AA has called on the government to 'go back to the drawing board'
Emergency services staff and vehicle recovery mechanics have also been critical of smart motorways, saying they can make it difficult for them to respond to urgent calls and conduct their jobs safely.
PC Stuart King from the motorway police said in a BBC interview: 'We have to force our way through the small gaps between lorries, cars and whereas before we would use the hard shoulder to get there much quicker. We are now stuck.'
Dave Poole, a motorway recovery mechanic said the removal of hard shoulders puts him and fellow breakdown service providers at risk.
'[For] people that have to go down and work on the motorways, that’s where the element of risk increases,' he said.
'There’s no consequence to the general public unless a member of the public’s vehicle has a catastrophic failure, the electrics go and they have to abandon it in what is potentially a live lane.
'We’re the people that are at risk everyday and the longer we’re down there, the more at risk we are. By taking this away they’re actually risking more lives.'
https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/car ... gland.html
roymck
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Re: Smart motorways in the news again....

Post by roymck »

One big problem is people ignoring the red X on the gantry , the amount of times I see vehicles driving through them.
8662 FN Austin Mini

Yes I know it’s not original

My wife says I don’t listen to her or something like that !
Polarsilver
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Re: Smart motorways in the news again....

Post by Polarsilver »

With the New Normal that we must have Electric Vehicles ..there will be a even more need for Motorway Hard Shoulders.. obvious to me there will be more breakdowns as Electric Cars run out of their only power sorce .. my Breakdown in a Mini solution put it in second gear slip the clutch & crank the starter motor so no need to get out & push ;)
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Pete
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Re: Smart motorways in the news again....

Post by Pete »

I don’t know the stats on motorway speeding fines but I reckon the government are raking all their furlough payments back in with the millions of speeding fines they’ll be dishing out due to the constant speed limit changes on smart motorways :lol: . Add to that the various different speed restrictions along the stretches of motorway being worked on that are 50mph on one carriageway and sometimes 60mph on the opposite one. So easy now to pick up a ticket, I’ve just had two in the last three months on restricted sections of the motorway, none in the last thirty years. :roll:
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