The AA is so concerned over the safety of smart motorways that it has instructed its recovery crews not to stop at breakdowns on the controversial roads.
A former AA patrol of the year confirmed to the BBC that crews are instructed to head to a safe area nearby and wait for Highways England to move the member’s car there before working on it.
The AA says it is concerned for the safety of its staff on smart motorways
Tony Rich told the BBC’s Inside Out North West that some drivers are stuck on the all-lane running roads for as long as 17 minutes before being recovered as they are out of sight of cameras set up to monitor for breakdowns.
Explaining how patrols were told to deal with call-outs to smart motorways, he said: “We’ll contact the customer to say ‘we can’t stop where you are’.”
“We will contact Highways England, go to a safe area and wait for the vehicle to be delivered.”
"Presumably also not on A-roads where there is no shoulder or verge to pull off onto?
Not usually as much speed or traffic on A roads though."
"Just so happens on the announcement of this i have set up a company that will."
"OK so it’s not safe for the AA. What’s the answer - just leave the disabled vehicle and its passengers there on the motorway? What about coming up with some solutions. Oh sorry, that’s not their job."
"They’ll need to employ more “Highways Agency” patrols to deal with break downs then won’t they - ensure the signage is changed to lane closed, put out plenty of cones, etc., and then it’ll be safe for recovery vehicle."
"Well it isn’t their job is it? They’re breakdown recovery not traffic management, it’s the responsibility of Highways England to make the situation safe before a car can be recovered. Something they’re currently failing at."
"Cant really blame them , its a ludicrous idea probably thought up by a idiot who doesn’t even drive . You’re a sitting target on the shoulder so what were they thinking making it a live lane!"
"Can’t blame them."
"Inevitably, if they continue using the hard shoulder as a live lane, they’ll have to reduce the speed limit on all lanes to compensate for lack of safety. After spending millions on smart motorways, they’re not going to waste that money and revert back to emergency only hard shoulders."
"Don’t blame them vehicles travel at 70mph plus hgvs 60 it’s been risk assessed imagine dealing with a broken down vehicle round a bend and a hgv comes around the corner alongside another hgv as they do bang accident and fatalities. Good on the AA for protecting their staff and highlighting how dangerous having no hard shoulder is."
"Like VAR, and Self Checkouts, “Smart” motorways are a great lump of technology that no one asked for, no one needs."
"“Smart” motorways... New way to Tax you motorways you mean..."
"Don’t the high ways agency charge to recover cars."
Rachel McCall Higham
"This is disgraceful."