Podcast guest, Edmund King OBE, calls for Government to implement a pilot re-instating the hard shoulder alongside a national lane discipline campaign with the police
The president of the Automobile Association, Edmund King OBE, has revealed worrying truths about the treacherous reality of SMART Motorways in a recent podcast, stating that the distance between poorly spaced Emergency Refuge Areas (ERAs) remains a major concern for drivers and a national scandal.
The comments came during an interview with Matt Sims, a motorhome industry expert, in his podcast, the Motorhome Matt Podcast who commented:
“The podcast aims to shine a light on the issues affecting motorhome, caravan and camper van owners and to answer some of the burning questions affecting the future of this booming industry. We know Smart Motorway safety is a very contentious issue amongst our listeners and wanted to understand the AA’s view on how effective they are but more importantly how safe they are for drivers.”
The AA President discussed the issues with Smart Motorways from initial pilot to national rollout and outlined some of the shortcomings remaining critical of the Government’s approach to safety with its rollout of the SMART Motorway network and commented:
“When SMART Motorways were originally introduced in 2006 on the M42 in the West Midlands, they had Emergency Refuge Areas (ERAs) every 450 meters for any motorist who broke down or was in trouble. But when the network was rolled out nationally and as part of the cost cutting, ERAs were stretched out to 2,500 meters apart (1.5 miles). We flagged at the time that this is simply not safe, people can’t choose where they break down and a mile and a half is too far to gamble with people’s lives, and unfortunately too many lives have already been lost.”
He went on to say that “Whilst the Government has rolled out Stopped Vehicle Detection technology, in our view, it’s not perfect and still has serious safety flaws. We have said to Government that there are still too many dependables with Smart Motorways making them unsafe. We have therefore proposed that the Government introduces a pilot which re-instates the inside lane as a hard-shoulder with a Red ‘X’ and runs a national lane discipline campaign – aimed at the ‘middle lane hogs’ – in conjunction with the police to get better use out of the capacity of the motorway and to make the network safer. ‘Controlled motorways’ with a hard shoulder and ‘smart’ technology are, according to Government statistics, our safest roads.”
The full interview can be heard on the Motorhome Matt website along with over 60 episodes covering everything from wood burning stoves in motorhomes to how to get good wifi on the road.