Expert says smart motorways will remain unsafe unless radical changes are introduced
He claims the planned review into smart motorways will become “utterly pointless” unless his proposals are urgently adopted.
Implementation of his recommendations are the only chance transport chiefs have to give the dangerous roads a fighting chance of becoming safer, he claims.
Road traffic lawyer Nick Freeman has urged government transport chiefs to consider a series of recommendations to the networks.
He has suggested sweeping updates to the roads including an increase in the number of emergency lay-bys to every 1000 metres and widening the lanes.
Mr Freeman says the roads should not constantly change its speed limits and is pushing for gantry signs above the road to only provide up-to-date and accurate information.
He has also pushed for more police officers to be deployed across the networks to hunt down offenders.
A widespread education programme to educate confused motorists on how to use the road is also needed, according to the lawyer.
He said: “I have long said that smart motorways were an accident waiting to happen, and tragically this has been borne on many occasions.
He added: “Things have to change as a matter of urgency – which is why any review must adopt these recommendations.
Otherwise, it is a pointless – and dangerous – exercise, and smart motorways will remain unsafe and unfit for purpose.”
Mr Freeman strongly urges the government to take note of his recommendations which could offer the only fighting chance to make the roads safer.
His headline updates would be to increase the number of lay-bys on the road and widening their length of lanes in a bid to avoid collisions.
He added: “So many things are just plain dangerous, such as not having enough emergency lay-bys. The lay-bys are also too short in length to allow vehicles to build up safe speed before entering live lanes.”
He has also claimed smart motorways create a recipe for bad driving as agitation levels rise and tension between motorists becomes frayed.
Mr Freeman also took a dig at existing infrastructure, claiming information screens were confusing and distracted motorists from driving their vehicle.
He said: “It’s so annoying when the gantry has a sign saying “believe to be an obstruction”. Either there is or there isn’t.
“The information needs to be clear and specific. What is the obstruction? Where is it, that kind of detail?”
The lawyer’s comments came after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed he would be launching a review into smart motorway networks.
Mr Shapps announced the changes to the Transport Select Committee where he also admitted he knew people were dying on the roads.
Highways England boss Jim O’Sullivan also revealed dynamic smart motorways were too complicated for people to use.
He confirmed the group would not be building any more dynamic hard shoulder smart motorways after safety concerns.
Four people were killed in just ten months on a stretch of smart motorway on the M1 after victims were hit after breaking down.
The view also comes after eight-year-old Dev Naran was killed after his grandfather’s vehicle was struck on a section of smart motorway on the M6.
Highways England have previously told Express.co.uk that the smart motorway networks were safer than traditional roads.
The group claimed all-lane running motorway schemes had reduced casualty rates by more than 25 percent.