A lorry driver's fears over M1 smart motorway dangers - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Janet McCulloch, Doncaster.

What is your verdict on smart motorways?
What is your verdict on smart motorways?

I was going to write to you about “smart” motorways anyway and then the Government announced their latest plans for lorry drivers and driving tests in general. I hardly know where to begin.

We read the letter from Robert Dent (The Yorkshire Post, September 27) and agree wlth most of what he says. My husband is a lorry driver and at one time had all the qualifications necessary to drive articulated lorries, tankers, cranes; the lot. He has let some of them lapse and now only works part-time.

First of all, we think that all the Government Ministers and people who are making decisions about “smart” motorways should have to go out with a lorry driver for the day and see what it is really like.

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lf there is a problem, “look left” for a so-called “refuge” but the legal minimum speed limit on a motorway is 40mph. lf you are lucky enough to be able to do 40 and then spot a refuge, try getting a 40-tonne lorry into it and stopped before it ends. Then you can phone for help but when it comes, where does it go? The space is full of lorry.

Alternatively, you could be driving along and come across a car broken down on the carriageway. No one has yet persuaded cars to decide to malfunction when they see a refuge ahead so it is not unusual for them to be in the inside lane.

Many lorry drivers do not use the inside lane for fear, and it is a very real fear, of running into the back of a stationary car. Even if you see the car and are travelling at the regulation speed, it is nearly impossible to stop in time. The alternative is to move out into lane two so it is safer to be there already and avoid making others take evasive action.

Having succeeded in making the motorways more hazardous, now the Government is proposing to scrap the B+ E test for those who passed their tests more recently than we did.

I have had my licence longer than many of those in government have been alive so have the entitlement to tow. I have done two courses run by the Caravan Club to learn to tow a caravan. They tell me I am more than competent to do so, but I am still not sure that I really want to on today’s roads.

Is the Government really claiming that a young person is going to be able to tow quite large trailers as soon as they have passed their test? There are a few more vehicles on the road today than there used to be.

The proposals, as Robert Dent says, will result in carnage on the roads.