Safety Fears Stop Work on Smart Motorways

stop smart motorways picture


Safety Fears Stop Work on Smart Motorways


A recent BBC documentary on smart motorways revealed shocking safety concerns.

The multi-million-pound project was accused of being introduced by Highways England with “a shocking degree of carelessness“.

After a Freedom of Information Act revealed the huge disparity between safety figures on conventional motorways and smart motorways, the transport secretary Grant Shapps ordered an urgent review.

The documentary showed that there were:

  • 38 deaths in the last five years
  • 1485 near-misses (20 times more)

One of the main areas of criticism is the spacings of the emergency safety refuges. In the pilot schemes, they were placed on average every 600 metres but when the project was rolled out in other locations, that distance increased to over 4 kilometres.

Work on the M20 in Kent, M23 near Gatwick Airport and the M62 near Manchester will now stop.



Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy for the RAC, said:
“A commitment to install stopped vehicle detection technology on the whole smart motorway network would be a welcome step and something the RAC has called for consistently in recent years.
“RAC research suggests that more than two-thirds of drivers believe that permanently removing the hard shoulder compromises safety in the event of a breakdown. Simply ploughing on with the status quo regardless isn’t an option anymore.”


In October 2019, we highlighted a report by the AA which said that 71% of respondents felt that All Lane Running (ALR) smart motorway were more dangerous than traditional motorways.


How Can Cambrian Help?

If you want to ensure your fleet is driving safely, we offer a range of telematics devices from leading suppliers. Our telematics devices detect every movement your vehicle makes. With CANbus connectivity, the engine management system will alert fleet managers if a vehicle breaks down on a smart motorway.

To find out more go to
Government information on how to safely operate your vehicle on a Smart Motorway is available here