'They must act before there are any further unnecessary deaths' - South Yorkshire PCC urges rethink on Smart Motorways

Claire Mercer has campaigned against the use of smart motorways since her husband's death Credit: ITV Calendar/PA

Motorways where the hard shoulder has a live lane have been described as inherently unsafe by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings.

He is urging the government to abandon these type of motorway.

It comes after a second coroner, Nicola Mundy, has asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider possible manslaughter charges against Highways England.

In January Dr Billings wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, following comments the coroner made at the conclusion of the inquest into the deaths of Jason Mercer and Alexandru Murgeanu. A reply to this letter is yet to be received.

Dr Alan Billings Credit: South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

The two men had been killed on the motorway and the coroner concluded that the lack of a hard shoulder had contributed towards their deaths.

Dr Billings said: “This is now the second time a coroner has raised doubts about the safety of these so-called smart motorways.

The evidence is mounting all the time that something is seriously wrong about these types of motorway with all running lanes.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

“Highways England and the Department argue that these motorways are as safe if not safer than conventional motorways. I believe the way this case is made is deeply flawed and should be scrapped.

“Instead, they must give weight to the comments of the coroners and those of us who see the risks on a daily basis.

“They must act before there are any further unnecessary deaths or serious injuries.”