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Majority of experienced motorists have no trust in smart motorways

A new web poll on smart motorways from road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, has revealed that the majority of respondents (85%) want a halt on their construction until the safety case is fully proven.

Smart motorways

New poll shows majority of experienced motorists have no trust in smart motorways

Furthermore, 84% of the 4,500 respondents surveyed had little faith in the current safety systems’ abilities to detect them if they were to breakdown in a running lane and protect them until help arrived.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, said: “Our members include many high mileage, experienced and confident motorway users but the results of this survey are clear to see, with the vast majority having very little, or no confidence, in the safety of smart motorways.

“We would urge the Department for Transport and Highways England to listen to what smart motorway users are saying and to consider our findings, along with other in-depth research, to determine the best approach to developing the smart motorway network. Delaying decisions on smart motorways will only lead to more drivers getting stressed.”

Meanwhile, other results from the IAM RoadSmart study found that 81% of motorists felt less safe travelling on a smart motorway compared to a normal one, and 81% agreed that hard shoulders should be immediately reinstated on smart motorways.

More than 80% also wanted safety refuges on smart motorways to be spaced at 500 metres apart or less.

Finally, 40% of drivers found no noticeable improvement in their journey time, with only 4% finding a very noticeable improvement compared to 6% who actually found it worse than before.

“This survey highlights a potentially very serious unintended consequence in that driver reluctance to use smart motorways could create increased traffic on local A and B roads. This would undoubtedly lead to an increased risk of collision and injury with even more delays and driver frustration resulting.” Greig concluded.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.