Smart Motorways investigation: FTA respond

Published: 28 January 2020

Smart Motorways investigation: FTA respond
The Government is being called upon by the Freight Transport Association, saying there is an urgent need for officials to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of road users who access Smart motorways, as the BBC Panorama reported on some of the issues Smart motorways face – their research has raised concerns for many regarding Smart motorways and some of the dangers they can cause at their current standard.

An Ex-Minister said there was “A shocking degree of carelessness” when planning for Smart motorways, another going so far as to say Highways England’s policy for Smart motorways was the direct cause of loss of life on the roads. Adding that changes should be implemented “so that more tragedies can be avoided.”

Policy Manager for Road Infrastructure at the Freight Transport Association, Chris Yarsley, gave his view on the matter: “As the business group representing the logistics sector, FTA is calling on the government to take measures to improve the safety of smart motorways. FTA’s members have found these roads to be effective in producing more reliable journey times – providing a tangible benefit to the UK economy – but the safety of road users must always take priority”

“FTA welcomes suggestions of increased SOS areas and intelligent radar technology, but consistent and robust enforcement of the rules, and more public education, is what is needed to make them work, in the view of hauliers. Smart motorways can be confusing to even the most experienced drivers.”

He concluded: “By reforming smart motorways and ensuring drivers are comfortable with the way they work, we can ensure the UK benefits from a safer, more effective and efficient road network.”

As the Brexit date draws nearer, logistics and the movement of goods must be kept to flow as much as possible, currently, Smart motorways are having an impact on more than 7 million employed road users – whichever vehicle they may be using. This new technology is proving to be disruptive for hauliers at a time when logistics has never been more significant for the UK. The FTA will continue to consult with the government in regards to their plans for the road and express any concerns their plans could raise.
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