AUTO NEWS – New sensible motorways see rise in severe collisions

New sensible motorways see rise in severe collisions

Some not too long ago upgraded sensible motorways have seen an increase in severe collisions since being accomplished.

A newly printed report from Highways England protecting eight new sensible motorways reveals that 4 noticed severe collisions go up of their first 12 months since being accomplished.

Stretches of highway that noticed rises in severe collisions – which Highways England describes as “one during which at the least one individual is critically injured however no individual (apart from a confirmed suicide) is killed” – embrace the M25 (junctions 5 to seven and 23 to 27), the M1 (junctions 39 to 42), the M6 (junctions 10A to 13)

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Despite this, deadly collisions decreased on six of the eight sensible motorways, as did slight collisions. Deadly collisions remained at zero on one highway.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads coverage on the RAC, referred to as the statistics “very regarding”, telling the New Civil Engineer, which analysed the report: “The findings received’t be a shock to nearly all of drivers who imagine the elimination of the onerous shoulder compromises security within the occasion of a breakdown.”

Sensible motorways: breakdowns trigger a month’s price of lane closures

The information that dymanic sensible motorways can be shut down comes after analysis found that broken-down autos brought on sensible motorway lanes to be closed for greater than a month over a two-year interval.

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From August 2017 to October 2019, motorway lanes had been closed for 945 hours – equal to 39 days – between Junction 2 and Junction 4a of the M3 on account of autos breaking down in a reside lane, in line with a Freedom of Info request to Highways England made by the AA.

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There have been a complete of two,227 breakdowns on the stretch of all-lane working (ALR) sensible motorways throughout the two-year interval, with every one closing a lane for a mean of 25 minutes.

Over the identical interval, there have been 318 hours of delays attributable to 271 site visitors collisions, with lanes being closed for a mean of 1 hour and 10 minutes every time.

Different points – together with obstructions, infrastructure defects and fires – contributed to a complete of two,802 incidents over the two-year interval and noticed motorway lanes shut for a complete of 1,451 hours – or 60 days.

Incident sort

Variety of incidents

Whole time closed (hours:minutes.seconds)

Common closure time per incident (hours:minutes.seconds)





Site visitors collision












Infrastructure defect








Animal on community




Deserted automobile




Pedestrian on community








Suicide/tried suicide




Climate circumstances








Bettering security was not a “major objective” for sensible motorways, paperwork reveal

Bettering highway security was not a “major objective” when sensible motorways had been first launched, in line with a report produced in 2012 by the Highways Company – Highways England’s predecessor – which thought-about the availability of extra emergency refuge areas (ERAs) surrounding a fatality hotspot on the M1 north of Nottingham.

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The doc said: “The first targets for the scheme don’t embrace bettering security and the highway person security goal is to make sure that the scheme isn’t any much less secure than the security baseline.”

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The AA, which uncovered the doc, criticised this objective for being “unambitious and complacent”.

The report reveals the Highways Company knew there was a threat that the variety of autos stopping in reside lanes would improve, and set out two choices to mitigate this. The primary would have seen the variety of ERAs on the stretch of highway elevated from eight to 10 and a mean spacing of 1,543 metres, at a value of between £0.35m and £0.7m.

The second possibility was to extend the variety of ERAs to 14 and a mean spacing of 1,304 metres, costing £1m to £2m. The report mentioned both of those choices would end in a “small internet lower in threat to highway customers”, however despite this no motion was taken.

With a mean of two,500 metres spacing, the Highways Company estimated between 25.99 per cent and 26.1 per cent breakdowns would happen in reside lanes; in actuality, the present fee on such stretches is as excessive as 38 per cent.

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In keeping with the AA, there have been 5 fatalities on the 16-mile stretch of the M1 between junctions 30 and 35a from September 2018 to December 2019.

Unique: Sensible motorway pace cameras provide 60-second grace interval

Drivers utilizing sensible motorways have 60 seconds to scale back their pace after a discount within the variable pace restrict is displayed on the overhead gantries, Auto Specific can reveal. After the one-minute grace interval, pace cameras begin enforcement on the new signposted restrict.

Responding to a Freedom of Info (FoI) request, Highways England – the Authorities-owned firm that runs England’s Strategic Street Community of motorways and main A roads – confirmed that drivers are given a one-minute grace interval.

“Following a change within the pace displayed by alerts there’s a 60-second ‘grace interval’ earlier than HADECS3 cameras begin enforcement, giving time for drivers to adapt to the brand new necessary pace restrict, particularly when pace limits are diminished on account of slow-moving or queuing site visitors up forward,” the organisation mentioned. “This offers drivers time to decelerate and reduces the necessity for braking sharply.”

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Sensible motorways have a default pace restrict of 70mph, however Highways England is ready to decrease the restrict to 60, 50 or 40mph when operatives deem it needed. When this occurs, the brand new restrict is displayed on overhead gantries and enforced by HADECS3 pace cameras, generally referred to colloquially as “stealth” cameras on account of their being small, gray items which might be a lot tougher to identify than that bigger yellow Gatso and Truvelo cameras used elsewhere.

Sensible motorways: breakdown restoration companies received’t cease for autos in closed ‘pink X’ lanes

Restoration companies should not allowed to cease and assist motorists whose autos have damaged down on sensible motorway lanes which have been closed with ‘pink X’ indicators. As a substitute, employees from companies just like the AA, Inexperienced Flag and RAC should await police or Highways England autos to bodily shut the lane or tow the automobile to a refuge space, in line with official steerage.

The ‘greatest observe tips’ from the Survive Group – fashioned of senior cops, Highways England and all main restoration companies – says breakdown operatives ought to “By no means work in a reside lane of a motorway lane until the lane has been closed by a Police automobile, HE [Highways England] Site visitors Officer automobile or Affect Safety Automobile…Don’t depend on a pink X closure signal.”

Whereas it’s unlawful to drive in closed ‘pink X’ lanes, 180,000 drivers acquired warning letters within the 18 months between 2017 and summer season 2018 for the offence – which is now enforced by cameras and leads to three penalty factors and a £100 effective. 

The information follows a damning Highways England report being unearthed by the AA, which discovered breaking down within the reside lane of a wise motorway throughout off-peak hours is 216 per cent extra harmful than doing so on a standard motorway.

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AUTO NEWS – New sensible motorways see rise in severe collisions


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