A study has found the worst sections of hard shoulder on Britain’s motorways, and some newer ‘smart’ sections without one at all.
The department for transport has found that 403 accidents on UK roads between 2011 and 2016 occurred on hard shoulders. Of that number, 70 per cent happened while a car was stationary on a hard shoulder.
It also resulted in 38 fatalities, making up 8.5 per cent of the total number of fatal road collisions in the UK.
The study looked into which roads have the most dangerous hard shoulder. According to a freedom of information request by 24|7 Vehicle Rescue, the M6 – Britain’s longest motorway – was in the top 10 worst offenders. It was recently converted to a smart motorway, with no hard shoulder whatsoever for many sections – refuge areas have been added instead.
However, while this may provide an extra lane for easier flow of traffic, the study suggests that refuge areas have increased the risk of collision by more than 200 per cent, with 56 collisions taking place between 2011 and 2015.
AA president Edmund King said: “Whilst we support measures to improve motorway capacity, we do not think that safety should be compromised.
“We do not accept that the current criteria of emergency refuge areas is safe. Breaking down in a live running lane with trucks thundering up behind you is every driver’s worst nightmare. The official advice is to dial 999, which just shows how dangerous the situation can be.”
Other motorways that made it to the top 10 roads with the worst hard shoulders include the M1 with 47 collisions, the M25 with 41 collisions, the M4 with 27 collisions, and the M40 with 20 collisions to name a few.
In June last year, many MPs attempted to reject the pans for more hard shoulders to become lanes, taking a negative stance on the plans and deeming them “dangerous.”
At the time, chair of the transport select committee Louise Ellman MP told the Guardian: “All kinds of drivers, including the emergency services, are genuinely concerned about the risk this presents.
“It is undeniable that we need to find ways of dealing with traffic growth on the strategic network. But “all-lane running” does not appear to us to be the safe, incremental change the department wants us to think it is.”