The Safety of Smart Motorways

The latest data from Highways England has revealed that smart motorways are as safe as conventional ones, paving the way for a full roll-out across the country.

The next step going forward is to connect the country to create a connected spine for continuous traffic movement. Smart motorways were originally introduced in 2006 on the M42 and are designed to allow traffic use of the hard shoulder to reduce congestion at busy times. They also apply variable speed limits when needed to keep a continuous flow of traffic moving.

Smart motorways also incorporate more signage signalling to drivers the distance to the next fuel station which has reduced the number of breakdowns already, as 5-10% of all breakdowns are caused by vehicles running out of fuel.

Highways England's top priority is safety and in 2017 the number of people killed and seriously injured on the strategy road network fell by 7.6% to 1,853 with a similar reduction expected when the 2018 figures are published.

The organisation's Government-back Driving for Better Business (DfBB) programme is also playing a key role in getting the message of safer driving out to fleets by enabling organisations of all sizes to access free information about how to improve their work-related road safety.

Highways England chief executive Jim O'Sullivan has a number of recommendations for fleets and drivers travelling on the strategy road network, including that everyone should put the Highways England phone number into their mobile( 0300 123 5000), as well as the details of their breakdown provider.


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