Great Britain

Safety of controversial smart motorways to be probed by MPs after 14 deaths on the roads last year

SMARTER FOR 10

AN MPs’ inquiry is to be launched into smart motorways after 14 people died on the roads last year.

The Transport Committee will consider how to improve safety on the controversial routes.

Campaigners want them axed, arguing that switching the hard shoulder into a normal traffic lane renders them “death traps”.

One coroner agreed, concluding the roads — introduced to help tackle congestion — “present an ongoing risk of future deaths”.

Another referred Highways England to the CPS to consider if corporate manslaughter charges were appropriate following a death on the M1 in 2018.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs earlier this year that smart motorways “should be safer”.

Transport Committee chairman, Huw Merriman, said public confidence had been “dented” by the rise in fatalities on the roads.

He asked: “Will enhanced safety measures help? Will the public accept them following an awareness campaign?

“Or should there be a rethink of government policy?

“There are genuine worries about this element of the motorway network.”

Edmund King, AA president, said the group had campaigned to improve smart motorway safety for more than a decade.

He added: “Too many people have died on these roads.

“Hopefully this inquiry will concentrate minds to stress the urgency of safety improvements.”

Mother of 8-year-old boy killed on a smart motorway speaks of her pain

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