Police said they had no choice but to keep part of the M42 closed as they negotiate with a man threatening to jump off a motorway bridge.
I would like to apologise to all motorists and local people who have experienced significant disruption as a result of this incident.
Clearly, we strive to resolve such matters as quickly as possible, but I would like to make it clear that the threat of harm both to the individual concerned and to vehicles driving on the M42 is so significant that there was no alternative but to close the motorway, and for it to remain closed until the incident has run its course.
Motorways carry a third of all traffic but are our safest roads. They would be safer still if people followed the rules about using the hard shoulder.
Around one in 10 motorway fatalities occurs on the hard shoulder and accidents here tend to be most severe because of the killer combination of stationary vehicles being hit by those travelling at very high speeds.
– RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister
A campaign has been launched by the Highways Agency and the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) in the Midlands to stop drivers misusing the hard shoulder on parts of the M6 and M42 motorways.
We do not want to issue fines and instead want to encourage good driving behaviour, but people need to understand that travelling on the hard shoulder when it is not available as a traffic lane is illegal and unsafe. They could cause a traffic collision and put lives at risk.
Taking photographs, having a sleep and stopping to pick flowers are just some of the reasons given by motorists for non-emergency stops on motorway hard shoulders. 8,655 cases of drivers stopping on hard shoulders in non-emergency situations were recorded in 2012, according to the Highways Agency.
A campaign has today been launched to stop drivers misusing the hard shoulder on sections of the M6 and M42 in the Midlands. Latest figures show that an average of up to 250 vehicles use the hard shoulder illegally on the M6 and M42 every day.
I hope that all road users hearing about this will start to correctly use the hard shoulder, follow the overhead signs displayed and drive safely.
Whether drivers are doing this because they are unaware or deliberately trying to exit the motorway more quickly, they are putting themselves and others at risk.
Driving on the hard shoulder when it is not available for use could lead to collisions with vehicles who have stopped in an emergency or with the breakdown and emergency services who have stopped there to offer assistance.
– Jamie Hassall, Highways Agency national enforcement co-ordinator