Government responds to smart motorways campaign | Fieldfisher
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Government responds to smart motorways campaign

In a move aimed at reducing the number of deaths on UK smart motorways, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced in March 2020 that the Government will abolish 'confusing' dynamic hard shoulders. A dynamic hard shoulder is one that is opened to traffic during busy times but reverts back to a normal hard shoulder when traffic is light.

Mr Shapps also pledged to increase the number of emergency refuge areas on motorways where the hard shoulder has permanently been turned into a live lane.

The distance between places to stop in an emergency will in future be three quarters of a mile where possible, meaning a motorist travelling at 60mph should be able to stop every 45 seconds.

In October last year, PI partner Keith Barrett represented the family of Dev Naran at inquest. Dev, aged 8, was killed when his grandfather's car stopped on the hard shoulder of the M6 that had been turned active. A lorry hit the back of the car.

After the coroner issued a Section 28 warning to Highways England detailing concerns that more lives were at risk, Keith joined the Sunday Telegraph's campaign to highlight the dangers of smart motorways, also helping Dev's mother, Meera, to speak out in the media. Meera was interviewed on a BBC Panorama report into smart motorways, fundamental to the recent Government decision. 

Mr Shapps said he has made the changes because he had been "greatly concerned by a number of deaths on smart motorways, and moved by the accounts of families who've lost loved ones in these tragic incidents".

The PI team has also been instructed by the families of those injured, one fatally, following a collision on the M1 last December involving a smart motorway.

Following Mr Shapps' announcement, Meera Naran wrote to Keith to express her gratitude for helping her successfully lobby for change.

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