The widow of a person killed on a sensible motorway questioned why 100 miles of them would nonetheless be accomplished amid rising security fears – asking ‘if one thing is harmful, certainly you isolate it?’.

Ministers final evening halted the rollout of 120 miles of the roads after 24 deaths and scores of accidents and a suggestion by Commons Transport Choose Committee.

However the resolution to nonetheless keep on with an enormous quantity of the mission – as a result of it was over 50 per cent completed – was greeted with confusion.

In a November 2 report, the committee described the Authorities’s resolution in March 2020 that every one future sensible motorways could be all-lane-running variations as ‘untimely’.

Considerations have been raised following deadly incidents involving broken-down automobiles being hit from behind as a consequence of an absence of a tough shoulder.

Claire Mercer blames sensible motorways for her husband Jason’s loss of life in June 2019 when a lorry hit him on the M1 the place the arduous shoulder had been became a reside lane.

She instructed Radio 4 this morning the pause didn’t go far sufficient, including: ‘They might have simply flicked the change and closed the primary lane on each single occasion however as an alternative they will pause the roll out of recent Sensible Motorways however solely those which are lower than 50 per cent accomplished.

Claire Mercer pictured at the smart motorway spot where her husband Jason Mercer was killed

Claire Mercer pictured on the sensible motorway spot the place her husband Jason Mercer was killed

Claire Mercer's husband died on a smart motorway after being hit by a lorry in a road crash

Claire Mercer’s husband died on a sensible motorway after being hit by a lorry in a highway crash

The crash that killed Mr Mercer, picture shows van of second victim Alexandru Murgeanu, 22

The crash that killed Mr Mercer, image exhibits van of second sufferer Alexandru Murgeanu, 22

The smart motorway network so far with the areas that will be completed despite the pause

The sensible motorway community thus far with the areas that shall be accomplished regardless of the pause

‘It is some small excellent news, however it’s not sufficient.

‘The arduous shoulder needs to be again in each single case.

‘For those who suppose one thing is harmful you isolate it whilst you examine it.’

A blame recreation additionally emerged this morning because the committee behind the crucial report advised Nationwide Highways had made assurances that weren’t delivered.

Chairman of Transport Choose Committee and MP for Bexhill and Battle Huw Merriman instructed the BBC: ‘I believe there was a whole system failure when it comes to a number of the assurances not delivered.

‘The earlier regime of Nationwide Highways, there may be now a brand new broom there. 

‘We got assurances we’d have the stopped automobile detection expertise which might cease the lane in a minute and that will be introduced in and retrofitted.

‘It hasn’t been, in 2019 solely 20 per cent of sensible motorways had that function there.

Mrs Mercer (pictured) said she thought the select committee report and the Government's response were a 'disappointment' and agreed they were missed opportunities

Mrs Mercer (pictured) mentioned she thought the choose committee report and the Authorities’s response had been a ‘disappointment’ and agreed they had been missed alternatives


A mom who misplaced her son in a collision has mentioned she welcomes a pause within the sensible motorway rollout however has vowed to proceed campaigning till there are zero deaths on the roads.

Meera Naran mentioned the halted growth would give time to ‘reassess’ the sensible motorway community and the community ‘as an entire’ as there are ‘dangers and advantages’ to each sensible motorways and traditional motorways with arduous shoulders.

Her eight-year-old son Dev died on a tough shoulder after a lorry struck his grandfather’s Toyota Yaris on the M6 in Could 2018.

Since his loss of life, she has campaigned in his reminiscence and was awarded an MBE in June final 12 months for her providers to highway security.

Ms Naran instructed the PA information company: ‘I welcome the pause within the rollout of sensible motorways, I believe it should give us time to reassess the sensible motorway community, additionally reassess the community as an entire.

‘There are dangers with sensible roadways and advantages as effectively, however there are additionally dangers and advantages with standard motorways with arduous shoulders and I believe it’s going to give us an actual alternative to have a look at each.’

Turning into emotional as she spoke about her son, she added: ‘We at all times believed in making change for the great. That was at all times our motto and it continues to be my motto.

‘I marketing campaign in Dev’s reminiscence and his identify. He wished to be a health care provider and save lives and I am campaigning for highway security and I solely can hope and pray it’ll additionally save lives as effectively.’

The Division for Transport has additionally dedicated £900 million on present all-lane-running (ALR) motorways, together with £390 million to put in 150 extra emergency areas.

The college lecturer mentioned she was happy to see the dedication to the emergency refuge areas, as she has been campaigning for that since day one, and the extra expertise which detects stopped automobiles.

‘Along with that, I’ve proposed some extra adjustments,’ she mentioned.

‘One being a change in laws round autonomous emergency braking, which can also be known as AEB, and I’ve additionally proposed for that to be known as Dev’s Legislation.

‘With the autonomous emergency braking system, that will save so many lives going ahead. This isn’t nearly sensible motorways anymore, it is about all roads and each life issues on our roads.

‘I can’t see a victory till now we have zero deaths on our roads. Whether or not that (means) I marketing campaign for the remainder of my life, so be it.’

Responding to the £900 million pledge, she mentioned: ‘It has been extremely emotional dropping Dev, it is so arduous. There is no phrases to ever clarify how that feels. Campaigning by means of grief isn’t any straightforward job both.

‘Nonetheless, in 2020 after I proposed 19 coverage adjustments, there was some reassurance with the 18-point motion plan, which applied 18 out of my 19 proposals with a £500 million dedication.

‘To see this extra quantity being added to a complete of almost £900 million is totally welcome and I believe it is actually reassuring.’ 


‘It appeared to us that assurances had been being given however there was an actual sprint to ship this moderately than listening to warnings and making the security enhancements which ought to have been in place.

‘I’m afraid there was a little bit of a tin-eared syndrome that has gone on beforehand with the company however it appears to be altering.’

MailOnline has contacted Nationwide Highways for a response to the feedback. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has mentioned £390million could be spent on constructing 150 additional emergency laybys on present sensible motorways so drivers whose automobiles have damaged down do not should cease in reside visitors.

It is going to increase the variety of laybys on them by about 50 per cent and imply they’re not more than a mile aside. 

The Authorities has pledged to enhance security on present all-lane-running motorways, however family of people that have died on the roads have urged ministers to go additional by reinstating the arduous shoulder.

Mr Shapps mentioned he was adopting the report’s suggestions in full.

Initiatives deliberate for the M3, M40, M62 and M25 shall be placed on maintain and others already underway will proceed till full. 

Expertise used to identify stranded vehicles can even be examined extra rigorously.   

Mr Shapps mentioned: ‘Whereas our preliminary information exhibits that sensible motorways are among the many most secure roads within the UK, it is essential that we go additional to make sure folks really feel safer utilizing them.

‘Pausing schemes but to begin building and making multimillion-pound enhancements to present schemes will give drivers confidence and supply the info we have to inform our subsequent steps.’

The conversion of seven dynamic arduous shoulder motorways, the place the arduous shoulder is open at busy instances, to all-lane-running motorways can also be being paused, whereas alternative routes of working them are being examined.

However regardless of halting the development of 120 miles of ‘all-lane-running’ (ALR) sensible motorway – during which the arduous shoulder is changed with a lane in everlasting use, an extra 100 miles will go forward as a result of these stretches are greater than 50 per cent full and it was deemed safer to complete them.

The 120 miles shall be paused till April 2024 so 5 years of security information may be collected from greater than 200 miles of schemes earlier than a choice is made on whether or not it’s secure to roll out new ALR roads.

The delayed schemes are made up of stretches totalling 60 miles on every carriageway.

Mr Shapps additionally agreed to think about letting the Workplace of Rail and Highway log off all new roads on well being and security grounds. 

The watchdog can even overview radar expertise meant to detect automobiles marooned in reside lanes inside 20 seconds. Officers declare it is not efficient.

He can even re-evaluate dynamic arduous shoulder and managed motorways. The previous have a tough shoulder used as a reside line intermittently, whereas the latter retain a tough shoulder however use variable pace limits.

AA president Edmund King mentioned: ‘Finally now we have a Transport Secretary who has taken a constructive and pragmatic strategy.’ 

However he added: ‘The AA view stays that managed motorways with a tough shoulder are the most secure possibility.’

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads coverage, mentioned the choice was ‘an unqualified victory for drivers’.

Mrs Mercer, from Rotherham, mentioned yesterday policymakers didn’t want any additional evaluation to conclude that sensible motorways had been lethal and mentioned transport secretary Grant Shapps wanted to order all lane one working to be halted, successfully recreating arduous shoulders.

Tory MP Karl McCartney (pictured), who sits on the transport committee, said hard shoulders should be reinstated, adding: 'The report did not go far enough. Hard shoulders are there for a reason'

Tory MP Karl McCartney (pictured), who sits on the transport committee, mentioned arduous shoulders needs to be reinstated, including: ‘The report didn’t go far sufficient. Exhausting shoulders are there for a motive’

Mr Shapps rejected reinstating hard shoulders, insisting it would lead to more deaths by pushing up to 25 per cent of traffic on to dangerous smaller roads. Pictured: A smart motorway

Mr Shapps rejected reinstating arduous shoulders, insisting it might result in extra deaths by pushing as much as 25 per cent of visitors on to harmful smaller roads. Pictured: A wise motorway

‘It is by no means wanted any of those opinions, any of those investigations,’ she mentioned.

‘It did not work. It killed folks. They should cease killing folks.’

Mrs Mercer mentioned she welcomed the pause, however mentioned it fell effectively wanting her goal of a whole reversal of the sensible motorway coverage.

She mentioned: ‘Not less than there shall be marginally much less casualties between every now and then.’

However she added: ‘All they ever wanted to do is flick a change.

‘I am from an engineering background and should you suppose a machine is defective you flip it off earlier than you examine it.

‘We have now had overview after overview after overview into sensible motorways and by no means as soon as have they turned off the primary lane whereas they examine them.

‘Simply flip off lane one and you have got your arduous shoulder again. You simply must thrown one change at eight management centres and you have got your arduous shoulder again instantly.’

Sheffield coroner David Urpeth instructed an inquest that ‘an absence of arduous shoulder contributed to this tragedy’ and that sensible motorways ‘current an ongoing threat of future deaths’.

Mrs Mercer has mentioned the improper individual had been jailed when lorry driver Prezemyslaw Szuba was given a 10-month sentence in 2020.

She mentioned: ‘They simply maintain saying let’s discuss it.

‘Cease sitting there speaking about this whereas persons are dying.

‘It is really easy to show the primary lane off whereas they examine it they usually’ve by no means wished to do this.’

She mentioned: ‘You simply must know that persons are dying in conditions the place they weren’t dying earlier than.

‘They’ve drastically modified one thing and extra persons are dying.

‘It is a easy as… should you needed to cease on a motorway, would you moderately it was in a reside working lane or on a tough shoulder? 

 ‘You do not want plenty of stats and evaluation.’

Mrs Mercer mentioned she thought the choose committee report and the Authorities’s response had been a ‘disappointment’ and agreed they had been missed alternatives.

She mentioned: ‘There’s been missed alternatives each single day since they’ve realised they’ve carried out one thing improper.’

And she or he added: ‘It is all simply compromises and sticking plasters. It isn’t going to type the state of affairs. They’re simply persevering with to thrown good cash after unhealthy.’

Mrs Mercer mentioned: ‘They’re underneath a number of strain from massive non-public contractors to maintain sensible motorways going.’

She described the response as ‘tweak it a bit, change this, change that, however just about keep on’.

And requested if it was a missed alternative, she mentioned: ‘Undoubtedly. There’s been missed alternatives each single day since they’ve realised they’ve carried out one thing improper.’

Mrs Mercer is campaigning for a judicial overview into sensible motorways and she or he mentioned she thought the primary influence of Wednesday’s announcement was that it might power the Authorities to have interaction with this authorized motion.

Her feedback had been echoed by Conservative MP Sir Mike Penning who claims he was misled when he supported the rollout of sensible motorways in his function as roads minister from 2010-2012.

He mentioned: ‘It appears illogical to me to resolve to pause the rollout of recent all-lane-running (ALR) sections on the premise that extra security information is required however to permit present ALR sections to proceed to function.

‘Absolutely, the prevailing sections needs to be quickly reconfigured to maintain the left-hand lane as a type of arduous shoulder.’

Tory MP Karl McCartney, who sits on the transport committee, mentioned arduous shoulders needs to be reinstated, including: ‘The report didn’t go far sufficient. Exhausting shoulders are there for a motive.’

Fellow committee member Greg Smith mentioned: ‘I am deeply sceptical of the security of all-lane working and so-called sensible motorways. 

‘Roads have to be secure, and I simply do not see how all lane working presumably may be.’ 

 Former roads minister Sir Mike Penning mentioned: ‘The Authorities has not gone far sufficient.

‘It appears illogical to pause the rollout of recent ALR sections on the premise that extra security information is required, however permit present sections to function. 

‘Both we’re completely satisfied that ALR is secure or we’re not.’

However Mr Shapps rejected reinstating arduous shoulders, insisting it might result in extra deaths by pushing as much as 25 per cent of visitors on to harmful smaller roads.

He identified that the transport committee had not known as for arduous shoulders to be reinstated.

He instructed the Mail: ‘There shall be campaigners who say ‘No, no, no, simply return to reinstating the arduous shoulder,’ however the committee did not suppose that was a good suggestion.

‘Though folks suppose they’re secure, they don’t seem to be.

‘One in 12 fatalities happen on the arduous shoulder.’

He acknowledged, nevertheless, the info was ‘incomplete’ on whether or not ALR motorways had been secure.

He mentioned: ‘We do not have sufficient, so we’ll pause for 5 years’ information as per the committee request after which be capable of reassess it.’ 

Sensible motorways had been first launched in England in 2014 as a less expensive means of accelerating capability in contrast with widening carriageways.

There are about 375 miles of sensible motorway in England, together with 235 miles with no arduous shoulder.