29/10/2020

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New smart motorways see rise in serious collisions

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Some recently upgraded smart motorways have viewed a increase in significant collisions because currently being completed.

A newly published report from Highways England covering eight new smart motorways shows that four saw significant collisions go up in their initially yr because currently being completed.

Stretches of road that saw rises in significant collisions – which Highways England describes as “one in which at the very least one particular particular person is seriously injured but no particular person (other than a verified suicide) is killed” – involve the M25 (junctions 5 to seven and 23 to 27), the M1 (junctions 39 to 42), the M6 (junctions 10A to thirteen)

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In spite of this, deadly collisions decreased on six of the eight smart motorways, as did slight collisions. Deadly collisions remained at zero on one particular road.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, called the figures “very concerning”, telling the New Civil Engineer, which analysed the report: “The conclusions won’t be a shock to the the vast majority of drivers who feel the removing of the really hard shoulder compromises security in the occasion of a breakdown.”

Intelligent motorways: breakdowns bring about a month’s value of lane closures

The information that dymanic smart motorways will be shut down will come immediately after exploration uncovered that damaged-down vehicles brought on smart motorway lanes to be shut for far more than a month around a two-yr period of time.

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From August 2017 to October 2019, motorway lanes have been shut for 945 hours – equal to 39 days – amongst Junction two and Junction 4a of the M3 because of to vehicles breaking down in a live lane, according to a Flexibility of Facts request to Highways England built by the AA.

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There have been a complete of two,227 breakdowns on the extend of all-lane managing (ALR) smart motorways for the duration of the two-yr period of time, with each individual one particular closing a lane for an typical of 25 minutes.

More than the similar period of time, there have been 318 hours of delays brought on by 271 visitors collisions, with lanes currently being shut for an typical of one particular hour and ten minutes each individual time.

Other problems – which include obstructions, infrastructure flaws and fires – contributed to a complete of two,802 incidents around the two-yr period of time and saw motorway lanes near for a complete of 1,451 hours – or sixty days.

Incident variety

Amount of incidents

Overall time shut (hours:minutes.seconds)

Average closure time for each incident (hours:minutes.seconds)

Breakdown

two,227

945:25.27

00:25.28

Traffic collision

271

318:forty four.12

01:ten.34

Obstruction

158

sixty seven:52.ten

00:25.forty six

Other

eighty four

08:28.05

00:06.03

Infrastructure defect

17

forty six:19.29

02:43.thirty

Hearth

fifteen

45:45.36

02:51.02

Animal on community

12

04:thirty.thirty

00:22.32

Deserted car

ten

08:forty one.37

00:52.ten

Pedestrian on community

five

01:39.thirteen

00:19.51

Spillage

1

00:01.00

00:01.00

Suicide/tried suicide

1

00:eleven.00

00:eleven.00

Weather conditions situations

1

04:12.00

04:12.00

Overall

two,802

1451:50.19

00:25.37

Strengthening security was not a “primary goal” for smart motorways, paperwork expose

Strengthening road security was not a “principal objective” when smart motorways have been initially released, according to a report created in 2012 by the Highways Agency – Highways England’s predecessor – which regarded the provision of further crisis refuge regions (ERAs) encompassing a fatality hotspot on the M1 north of Nottingham.

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The document said: “The principal targets for the plan do not involve improving security and the road consumer security objective is to make certain that the plan is no a lot less safe and sound than the security baseline.”

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

The report shows the Highways Agency understood there was a hazard that the quantity of vehicles stopping in live lanes would improve, and set out two choices to mitigate this. The initially would have viewed the quantity of ERAs on the extend of road amplified from eight to ten and an typical spacing of 1,543 metres, at a charge of amongst £0.35m and £0.7m.

The 2nd choice was to improve the quantity of ERAs to 14 and an typical spacing of 1,304 metres, costing £1m to £2m. The report explained possibly of these choices would final result in a “small net lessen in hazard to road users”, but in spite of this no action was taken.

With an typical of two,five hundred metres spacing, the Highways Agency believed amongst 25.ninety nine for each cent and 26.1 for each cent breakdowns would occur in live lanes in fact, the current fee on these types of stretches is as significant as 38 for each cent.

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According to the AA, there have been 5 fatalities on the 16-mile extend of the M1 amongst junctions thirty and 35a from September 2018 to December 2019.

Special: Intelligent motorway pace cameras supply sixty-2nd grace period of time

Drivers applying smart motorways have sixty seconds to reduce their pace immediately after a reduction in the variable pace limit is shown on the overhead gantries, Auto Express can expose. After the one particular-minute grace period of time, pace cameras get started enforcement at the new signposted limit.

Responding to a Flexibility of Facts (FoI) request, Highways England – the Govt-owned business that operates England’s Strategic Road Network of motorways and significant A roads – verified that drivers are given a one particular-minute grace period of time.

“Following a alter in the pace shown by alerts there is a sixty-2nd ‘grace period’ right before HADECS3 cameras get started enforcement, offering time for drivers to adapt to the new necessary pace limit, particularly when pace limits are reduced because of to sluggish-shifting or queuing visitors up forward,” the organisation explained. “This presents drivers time to sluggish down and decreases the need to have for braking sharply.”

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Intelligent motorways have a default pace limit of 70mph, but Highways England is in a position to decreased the limit to sixty, 50 or 40mph when operatives deem it essential. When this takes place, the new limit is shown on overhead gantries and enforced by HADECS3 pace cameras, occasionally referred to colloquially as “stealth” cameras because of to their currently being compact, grey models that are considerably more challenging to location than that larger yellow Gatso and Truvelo cameras used somewhere else.

Intelligent motorways: breakdown recovery firms won’t stop for vehicles in shut ‘red X’ lanes

Restoration firms are not authorized to stop and assistance motorists whose vehicles have damaged down on smart motorway lanes that have been shut with ‘red X’ signals. In its place, workers from firms like the AA, Inexperienced Flag and RAC have to wait for police or Highways England vehicles to physically near the lane or tow the car to a refuge area, according to official guidance.

The ‘best follow guidelines’ from the Endure Group – formed of senior police officers, Highways England and all significant recovery firms – states breakdown operatives should “Never function in a live lane of a motorway lane unless the lane has been shut by a Law enforcement car, HE [Highways England] Traffic Officer car or Affect Protection Car or truck…Do not rely on a purple X closure signal.”

While it is unlawful to generate in shut ‘red X’ lanes, one hundred eighty,000 drivers received warning letters in the eighteen months amongst 2017 and summer time 2018 for the offence – which is now enforced by cameras and outcomes in a few penalty details and a £100 fine. 

The information follows a damning Highways England report currently being unearthed by the AA, which observed breaking down in the live lane of a smart motorway for the duration of off-peak hours is 216 for each cent far more harmful than executing so on a traditional motorway.

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