Police boss calls for smart motorways to be scrapped after another serious crash in Yorkshire

A Yorkshire smart motorway which has featured in two recent inquests should be scrapped following another serious crash in which a person had to be airlifted to hospital, a police boss has said.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings has repeatedly criticised the smart motorway on the M1 which has no hard shoulder on that stretch, labelling it "inherently dangerous".

The occupant of a stationary car in a live lane on the M1 had to be rushed to hospital with serious injuries after a lorry collided with the vehicle last Friday afternoon.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings has repeatedly criticised the smart motorway on the M1 which has no hard shoulder on that stretch, labelling it "inherently dangerous".

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Dr Billings said: "I said that as long as it remained in place it was a constant danger to anyone unfortunate enough either to break down in it or to be travelling along it when another vehicle had broken down.

“Since then we have had two coroners raise serious concerns about the smart motorway in South Yorkshire and I have written to the Secretary of State for Transport expressing my grave concerns."

Last week a coroner investigating the death of 62-year-old grandmother Nargis Begum on the smart motorway referred Highways England to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider if corporate manslaughter charges were appropriate.

She died on a stretch of the M1 without a hard shoulder in South Yorkshire, near Woodall Services, in September 2018.

And last month a different coroner concluded that smart motorways “present an ongoing risk of future deaths”.

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Recording a conclusion of unlawful killing, Mr Urpeth said: “I find, as a finding of fact, it is clear a lack of hard shoulder contributed to this tragedy.”

Dr Billings said the crash last Friday means he has been forced to reiterate his concerns to Highways England and the Department of Transport.

He said: "Last Friday we had a further incident of a heavy goods vehicle colliding with a stationary car in a live running lane.

"I am forced to reiterate my concerns and to strongly urge Highways England and the Department of Transport to think again about this type of motorway.

“I do not believe there is anyone who uses this stretch of the motorway, as I do, who does not feel anxious when driving along it.”

“I call upon the minister and Highways England to abandon this type of smart motorway before we have more serious injuries or fatalities.”

Highways England has always expressed its sympathies over the deaths of Mr Mercer, Mr Murgeanu and Mrs Begum, and while it had denied criminal responsibility it has maintained that it would work with authorities where necessary.