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Safety concerns after deaths on smart motorways

Claire Mercer's husband was killed on a smart motorway Photo:

Claire Mercer is calling for a judicial review to stop Highways England building more smart motorways, after her husband was killed three months ago.

Claire is calling for a judicial review

Jason Mercer pulled over against the crash barrier to swap details with another driver following a minor collision.

The hard shoulder had been turned into a fourth lane. Jason and the other driver, died when they were hit by a lorry.

  • Watch: Claire Mercer talks about the circumstances of her husband's death

The aim of smart motorways is to ease congestion.

There are currently 416 miles of smart motorways, including the M3, M25 and M23.

Highways England plans to increase this to 788 miles by 2025.

180,000
drivers have been caught ignoring the red cross warning signs on electronic gantries since 2017.
20%
The number of breakdowns on motorways has risen by a fifth in the past two years.

Warning signs on electronic gantries should indicate when a lane is closed and lay-bys on smart motorways are a mile and a half apart.

Despite this, smart motorways are considered unsafe by motoring organisations.

  • Watch: Edmund King, AA President explain why he thinks smart motorways are unsafe

Safety is our top priority. Congestion costs an estimated £2 billion every year in England. Evidence shows that all lane running schemes reduce collisions as well as jams."

– Highways England

Sam Cockerill wants better safety measures to protect roadside recovery workers.

Her partner Steve was killed when he was struck by a lorry while responding to a breakdown on the hard shoulder of the M25.

Sam Cockerill pictured with her partner Steve

My opinion of smart motorways is they are very dangerous. There's not enough advice out there as to what people should do if they do break down, where they should go, how they should make themselves safe."

– Sam Cockerill, Campaign for Safer Roadside Recovery Rescue