South Yorkshire MP calls on government to improve safety on smart motorways

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A South Yorkshire MP has called on the government to improve safety on ‘smart motorways’ after five people died on a 16-mile stretch of the M1 in just 10 months.

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, called for the government to improve safety on all lanes running motorways or face the prospect of more deaths.

Her intervention came just days after the widow of Jason Mercer launched a legal challenge to have smart motorways and all lane running (ALR) scrapped.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Jason, 44, was killed along with 22-year-old Alexandru Murgreanu in June last year after they got out of their vehicles to swap numbers after a minor collision.

The smart motorwayThe smart motorway
The smart motorway

Jason’s widow Claire said the fact that the lane Jason and Alexandru were in wasn’t closed until six minutes after they were killed proves the system is unsafe.

Speaking in Parliament, Ms Champion said: “The safety of motorists must always be paramount. It is totally unacceptable to risk lives in the name of cost savings.

“There is no evidence that shows me that ALR can ever be delivered safely. I therefore strongly believe the government must stop the rollout with immediate effect.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Until the obvious and intrinsic risks which come with removing the hard shoulder are addressed, existing schemes should be reverted to traditional motorways from today.”

Responding for the government, George Freeman MP said he accepted that there were ‘real issues’ with ALR, and suggested that the government might create a task force to listen to the concerns of Members of Parliament.

Ms Champion, however, said the government should take the opportunity of a recently announced review into smart motorways to change course and prevent further loss of life.

She said: “The government’s response was woeful. They did little more than offer warm words and condolences in response to the deeply alarming evidence that ALR is costing lives.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“This is simply not good enough. People are dying. This was predicted. The government was warned of the consequences before the rollout even began. How many more needless deaths will there be before safety is put ahead of the bottom line?”

To find out more or back Claire Mercer’s legal challenge, visit