RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “The results of these initial reports suggest that motorists are still getting to grips with how to make proper use of motorways with all lane running (‘ALR’). This is consistent with our own research on this subject.
“Non-compliance with red ‘X’s on ALR stretches of motorway is a particular cause for concern. With no permanent hard shoulder, the safety of someone breaking down in lane one is highly dependent on motorists obeying overhead signage indicating the closure of a lane to traffic. The misuse of Emergency Refuge Areas ('ERAs') is also worrying. With spacing of ERAs further apart than on earlier designs of smart motorway and in the absence of a hard shoulder it is essential that ERAs are used only by those road users that are faced with a genuine emergency.
“It is encouraging that initial evidence suggests the safety performance of ALR to be no worse than a conventional motorway with a hard shoulder and indeed may be slightly better, but by Highways England’s own admission, a further two years data will be needed before there is sufficient evidence to be confident in this conclusion.”