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Image: Getty
Image: Getty

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Inquest into smart motorway deaths concludes - RAC statement

Following the results of an inquest into the deaths of two people on a 'smart motorway' section of the M1 motorway, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:

“Since Highways England’s major review of the design and operation of smart motorways some good progress has been made by adding more SOS areas to the M25 and developing a new standard for future schemes.

“The introduction of stopped vehicle detection technology is a vital element of this and is due to be retrofitted to existing smart motorways as well as schemes currently under construction. Sadly, there appears to have been precious little progress with retrofitting to date considering this was announced last March. While Highways England is considering a national programme to install more SOS areas on the existing network, we’d prefer them to commit to this fully so all refuge areas are consistent distances apart.

“We’d also like to see whether the promise of additional traffic officer patrols has been fulfilled as this will be a crucial ingredient in providing extra protection for drivers that are unfortunate enough to be stranded in a dangerous live-lane scenario. While we’re very supportive of stopped vehicle detection technology, the success of it still depends on other drivers seeing and obeying red ‘x’ closed-lane signs. If drivers don’t see these because gantries or verge-mounted signs are too far apart, then there’s still a risk of collision with a stationary vehicle.” 

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