Smart motorway deaths; why Grant Shapps must meet grieving M1 widow – The Yorkshire Post says

IF Grant Shapps is still convinced that smart motorways are safe, perhaps he’ll come to Yorkshire, have a face-to-face meeting with Claire Mercer and reconsider his view.

Claire Mercer is still demanding answers after her husband Jason was killed in a fatal accident on a smart motorway.

She’s the grieving widow whose husband Jason, and another man, were killed on a stretch of the M1 after a lorry ploughed into their damaged vehicles following a minor collision in 2019.

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They were effectively sitting targets because the hard shoulder on the M1 through Rotherham had been converted into an extra lane.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps continues to defend the safety record of smart motorways.

And Mrs Mercer’s grief has now been compounded by revelations that four out of 16 Highways England cameras monitoring the motorway where Mr Mercer, and Alexandru Murgeanu, lost their lives were either broken, obscured or facing the wrong way.

Now will Mr Shapps, the Transport Secretary, find time to meet Mrs Mercer – he is due to be in the North for next week’s Tory party conference – and listen to her concerns after she recounted her ordeal on the Today programme yesterday?

Her contention that lessons have still not been learned was even more compelling in light of the new disclosures about faulty cameras and it will be unforgivable if Mr Shapps continues to ignore incontrovertible evidence about the risk to public safety posed by smart motorways.

In the meantime, his duty should be shut lane one – the traditional inside lane – of all smart motorways until he can look people like Mrs Mercer in the eye and demonstrate that the lives of motorists are no longer being put in danger by flawed technology and Highways England failures.

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