Smart motorway ‘costing lives’ claims Sheffield lorry driver

Smart motorway
Smart motorway

A section of so-called ‘smart motorway’ in South Yorkshire where a woman died earlier this month is costing lives, a Sheffield lorry driver has claimed.

Night-driver Paul Skipper, aged 49, of Sothall, uses the M1 stretch for work almost every day, and has been concerned about the system since it was brought in two years ago.

However, after a woman was killed in an accident near Woodall services on Sunday, September 9, he believes the idea is fundamentally flawed.

He says people ‘take no notice’ of the lane closure signs, and there are also no cameras to act as a deterrent to drivers in the wrong lane.

He said: “It is absolutely ridiculous. The amount of traffic I see them just ignoring the red crosses every night. They’ve made it extremely dangerous.

“The most important sign on that motorway is the red crosses but it is not backed up by cameras. If there was a camera which flashed and lit the road up it would act as a deterrent.”

“They have the pollution speed limit in place backed up by cameras. What is more dangerous?”

The 62-year-old Sheffield woman tragically died after another vehicle ploughed into her broken down car as she stood at the side of the road, awaiting rescue.

With no hard shoulder to take refuge in, Paul says people are left dangerously exposed and reliant on other road users to follow road signs.

He said: “I have said to my wife if she has a problem to drive up the bank regardless of the damage. On Facebook the breakdown companies are all screaming about it.

“I have been fighting Highways England on this for two years because it is dangerous.”

The director of the Highways Agency for Yorkshire and the North East, Richard Marshall, said: “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the woman involved in the tragic incident on the M1 near Sheffield.

“As police investigations are ongoing, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time. We can reassure drivers that safety is and always will be our top priority.”