Written evidence submitted by Mr Simon Green (RSM0003)

A search on The Northampton Chronicle & Echo Newspaper's website today (26th February 2021) shows 14 incidents between the M1 Junctions in Northamptonshire and current smart motorway road works near Northamptonshire that resulted in lane closures, tailbacks, serious injuries and deaths in the first 2 months of 2021. Even during a lockdown with reduced traffic there are significantly more incidents than before Smart motorways.

I have no positive views of smart motorway, they are universally poor to drive on, dangerous and have substantially more near misses, accidents, congestion and closures. Also few people understand how they work and during breakdowns people are less likely to be able to stand behind the barriers on the Left of a hard shoulder.

I drive 2 return journeys, every 2 weeks, between my home and Heathrow Airport, as it's the half way point between my house and my step-daughters father's, to drop her off and pick her up.
 

I choose to drive across country to the M40 rather than use the M1 Smart Motorway. This adds an additional 25 miles to my journey, totalling 100 miles extra every 2 weeks. I choose to this route to avoid Smart Motorways and it is on average 20 minutes faster, the drive is easier, less stressful, has fewer incidents and is much safer for myself and my family. I see no way to salvage the concept of smart motorways; Extra refuges have not and will not improve them and there is virtually no smart detection equipment https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/safety-technology-covers-only-37-miles-of-smart-motorway-x5909xlss

Not only have smart Motorways failed in all of their objectives, they have made the roads less safe, and feel less safe, journeys are longer/further and more stressful so I avoid them at all costs.

"Sheffield’s city coroner, investigating an accident on the M1 in 2019, concluded that smart motorways carry “an ongoing risk of future deaths.” His verdict was followed by an intervention from South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, who labelled the roads “inherently dangerous.” The PPC expounded further “I do not believe there is anyone who uses this stretch of the motorway, as I do, who does not feel anxious when driving along it.” He said: “I call upon the minister and Highways England to abandon this type of smart motorway before we have more serious injuries or fatalities.”

A recent YouGov poll revealed two-thirds of drivers thought them less safe than normal motorways, with 57 per cent opposed to their use entirely. https://yougov.co.uk/topics/transport/articles-reports/2021/01/26/most-britons-oppose-smart-motorways  At the same time, a Change.org petition calling for their removal have over 300,000 signatures. https://www.change.org/p/scrap-dangerous-smart-motorways

Northampton Chronicle & Echo Newspaper’s Incident stories

26 February 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/transport/two-lanes-blocked-by-friday-rush-hour-crash-on-m1-near-northampton-3147598

22 February 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/transport/four-car-pile-up-blocking-two-lanes-on-the-m1-between-milton-keynes-and-northampton-3141932

16 February 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/dramatic-pictures-driver-and-passengers-lucky-escape-car-inferno-m1-near-northampton-3136128

https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/driver-32-seriously-injured-after-bmw-veers-m1-northamptonshire-and-smashes-trees-3137443

10 February 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/air-ambulance-lands-after-serious-crash-involving-two-hgvs-m1-northamptonshire-3129981

https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/transport/man-rushed-major-trauma-unit-after-air-ambulance-lands-m1-smash-northamptonshire-3130106

10 February 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/transport/four-mile-tailbacks-m1-following-rush-hour-shunt-near-northampton-3129814

09 February 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/two-lanes-closed-m1-northbound-after-road-traffic-collision-between-northampton-and-milton-keynes-3129614

04 February 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/transport/two-lanes-blocked-m1-northamptonshire-after-two-hgvs-crash-during-rush-hour-3123476

01 February 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/transport/six-vehicle-pile-brings-7-12-mile-queues-m1-southbound-between-luton-and-hemel-hempstead-3119102

01 February 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/one-lane-closed-m1-due-collision-involving-two-lorries-northamptonshire-3120409

https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/transport/overturned-hgv-blocking-all-three-lanes-m1-near-northampton-3119948

25 January 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/people/northamptonshire-stretch-m1-closed-after-smash-involving-two-lorries-and-van-3112019

https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/people/air-ambulance-lands-after-smash-m1-northamptonshire-3112126

https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/transport/lorry-smash-shuts-three-lanes-m1-southbound-near-northampton-3111477

https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/trucker-67-seriously-injured-pile-which-blocked-m1-near-northampton-monday-3112857

20 January 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/m1-closed-southbound-following-rush-hour-smash-between-northampton-and-milton-keynes-3106266

https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/people/update-m1-shut-between-northampton-and-milton-keynes-following-wednesday-rush-hour-smash-3106239

18 January 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/transport/four-mile-queues-m1-northamptonshire-heading-monday-rush-hour-3103613

11 January 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/two-lanes-closed-m1-southbound-after-road-traffic-collision-northamptonshire-3092567

04 January 2021
https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/investigation-launched-after-driver-killed-m1-crash-between-junctions-12-and-13-3084479

 

February 2021