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Smart motorways are ‘death traps’ as lawyer calls for roads to close with immediate effect

He warned leaving the roads in their current condition would be a “dereliction” of legal duty and has pushed for the road sot be immediately altered.

Mr Freeman said the nearside lane should be closed to act as a hard shoulder to allow drivers to stop in the event of an emergency. 

He added the roads posed a “very real” and an “obvious risk” to life just hours after a coroner investigating fatal accidents also attacked the roads.

Mr Freeman said: “Following the spate of horrific accidents on smart motorways it has become manifestly clear these are death traps.

“Highways England has a duty of care to the motorist. To allow smart motorways to continue in their current format would constitute a gross dereliction of their legal duty.

“They should, with immediate effect, close the nearside lane of all smart motorways by using the red cross on the gantry system – thereby enabling the motorist to then use the lane as a default hard shoulder.

READ MORE: Smart motorway safety tools to be installed 

The man driving the lorry, Prezemyslaw Szuba, was jailed for 10 months over the incident.

However, Szuba has also claimed the accident would have been “avoidable” with a hard shoulder in place.

Nick Freeman said it was wrong a road system did not have an “emergency form of escape”.

He said: “When there is a product recall on, say, a defective car, the motorist is advised to deal with it immediately and not to drive the vehicle.

It added: “We will carefully consider any further comments raised by the coroner once we receive the report.”

However, Nick Freeman is pushing for urgent changes to the road network to avoid any future fatal accidents.

He said: “I knew these roads before they were smart motorways and since their change of status the improvement has been negligible.

“That`s before you consider the terrible loss of life.

“That`s why the change of the nearside lane to hard shoulder must happen immediately.

“Apart from the obvious safety benefits, this shouldn’t cause any congestion due to relative light traffic flow during lockdown.

“How much more blood does Highways England want on its hands?”

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