M1 set to stay a smart motorway through Derbyshire as ministers reject safety calls

Smart motorways like the M1 through Derbyshire will be kept running after ministers shunned calls to bring back permanent hard shoulders.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 9:46 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 9:53 am

The Government is to unveil a host of extra safety measures and improved technology — but there will be no end to using the emergency lane for high-speed traffic.

Smart motorways have been criticised because the hard shoulder is either permanently turned into a traffic lane or the lane is switched on or off to traffic depending on how busy the road is.

A total of 38 people being killed on smart motorways in the past five years.

The M1 near Chesterfield is to remain a smart motorway.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said today: “The data contained in the Highways England progress report continues to show that fatal casualties are less likely on all lane running motorways than on conventional ones, but we know drivers can feel less safe on roads without hard shoulders, which is why the progress report, published today, intends to accelerate a number of actions to provide reassurance to drivers.”

Helen Smith, a specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, represents Rotherham woman Claire Mercer, whose husband Jason and Alexandru Murgreanu, from Mansfield, were killed in a crash on the M1 in South Yorkshire.

She said: “The issues around smart motorways safety are well documented and the need for change is obvious. We will now fully scrutinise the detail of this announcement and whether these proposals go far enough or whether potential legal action is necessary.”