Over 4,700 responses were received to a recent IAM RoadSmart survey on smart motorways. Most respondents had already used them, so their comments and votes are very useful. The opinions expressed were overwhelmingly negative.
81% felt less safe on a smart motorway and the same number wanted the hard shoulder to be reinstated immediately. 85% supported the stopping of the building of any more smart motorways until the safety case is proven. Alarmingly 85% said that they would not trust the technology to protect them if they ever broke down in a live lane of a smart motorway. The vast majority also supported more frequent safety refuges or going back to a continuous hard shoulder. Slightly more positively, one if five IAM RoadSmart Members had seen some improvement in congestion because of smart motorways, and just over half felt that they knew what to do in the event of a breakdown.
IAM RoadSmart have already shared some of these findings at a major safety conference which was addressed by Road Safety Minister, Baroness Vere, and senior people from Highways England. The findings will also be formed into a strong call to action in a response to the House of Commons Transport Committee inquiry that ends soon. Such an overwhelming response from a group of drivers who are confident and knowledgeable about motorways gives a really strong message to take back to the government.