Written evidence submitted by Clive Wilson (RSM0078)


I am a private motorist who, in a normal year, drives a few thousand miles on motorways.


There is no doubt that variable speed limits on smart motorways help to keep heavy traffic moving and reduce the stop/start motion that can easily lead to accidents when traffic stops suddenly. However, these accidents are usually relatively minor compared to the horrendous accidents that can occur when a stationery broken down vehicle is hit on the inside lane of a motorway without a hard shoulder. The distances between refuges and the delays in illuminating ‘lane closed’ signs are unacceptably long and not as stated when smart motorways were proposed.


If the current increase on smart motorways continues and no changes are made to the method of operation, it is only a matter of time before the number of serious inside lane accidents becomes completely unacceptable and the hard shoulders have to be reinstated at enormous cost.


My proposal is that no more smart motorways are constructed and those already in existence are operated in a different way. Driving on the inside lane should only be allowed when traffic is heavy and with a speed restriction in place. When traffic levels are normal or light, the inside lane should be closed and only available to broken down vehicles. This would give the best compromise between improving traffic flow and preventing accidents.



April 2021