The safety of Smart Motorways has once again been called into question, after a coroner found two men had been unlawfully killed on a “smart” section of the M1.

The latest ruling has fuelled criticism, with South Yorkshire PCC Dr Alan Billings the latest to air concern, writing an open letter to Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport. In his letter, Dr Billings stated; “I believe Smart motorways of this kind – where what would be a hard shoulder is a live lane with occasional refuges – are inherently unsafe and dangerous and should be abandoned.”


Now Road Angel, whose “Pure” device which includes a Smart motorway subscription option connected to the Department of Transport, has brought plans for its lane closure updates forward to April to release its new verbal warning alerts for lane closures.

“It is plain that there is a problem but we’re not diving into a blame debate,” says Road Angel’s director Gary Digva, “this is about making the roads as safe as possible and saving lives. We have the technology to make a crucial difference because this is something we’ve been concerned about for a long time. Our experience has led us to see Smart motorways as a major potential risk and we’ve been designing our products to mitigate it for years now. Our lane closure alerts feature was scheduled for later this year but we are now working hard to bring that forward as soon as practically possible because we think it will make a major difference. The debate may rumble on for a long time yet so now is the time for action.”

Good to Talk

Gary Digva concludes; “A key issue with Smart motorways is a lack of understanding combined with a level of complacency. Any debate around the safety of Smart motorways will continue and it is an important debate to have but in the meantime, if we can help make a difference with our technology by making people more aware of the changing circumstances we will. Ultimately this can save lives.”