Smart Motorway protesters to carry 38 coffins to Parliament after fatal crash near Sheffield
Protesters are set to carry 38 coffins across London to The Department for Transport, to demand that smart motorways are scrapped.
The protest has been organised by Claire Mercer, widow of Jason Mercer, who died on the M1 at Junction 34 near Sheffield in 2019 when he was struck by a lorry.
Protesters will carry the coffins from the London Eye to Parliament Square, then on the Department for Transport’s headquarters on Horseferry Road.
Claire says the 38 coffins will represent the number of deaths accepted by the government due to Smart Motorways, from 2014-2019 – but says the actual toll is much higher.
Claire says the protest on November 1 is to draw attention to the deaths caused by Smart Motorways, which she has been campaigning for for the last two years.
“I’ve now been fighting this campaign for two years,” Claire told the local democracy reporting service.
“I started with legal action, the judicial review, and that’s still going on it’s just taking so long.
“Slowly, people are becoming more aware of the dangers of smart motorways, even slower, the government are accepting that there are issues.”
In September, the results of a government report into accident blackspots on smart motorways found that the number of serious or fatal injury collisions have increased on the South Yorkshire stretch of the M1 – but only one new emergency refuge will be installed on the Derbyshire border.
Claire, however, says that emergency refuges are “not the answer”, and has urged the government to scrap smart motorways altogether.
An undercover probe by the Daily Mail in September found that more than one in ten safety cameras were either broken, misted up or facing the wrong way, and the Department of Transport ordered an inquiry into the revelations.
“When did we get to the point where we review safety after [smart motorways] have been running for years?” added Claire.
“There is obviously a very big problem, and they’re just masking it.
“It’s not good enough, more and more people are going to die, and what worries me is that it will be a coach full of children.”
The coach to the protest will leave from Broom Valley in Rotherham at 8.30am, and then from Greenland Road in Darnall at 9am on November 1, and there are still places availble.
To atend, or find out more, please see: https://www.facebook.com/events/169664018648971/?ref=newsfeed