Stop smart motorway rollout to prevent ‘any more deaths’, police chief urges Rishi Sunak

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Halt smart highway rollouts to prevent ‘more deaths’, police chief Rishi Sunak urges in scathing letter

  • PM previously promised a “comprehensive ban” on new smart highways
  • Transport Secretary Mark Harper does not rule out more roads being built
  • Dr. Alan Billingsis is now calling on the Prime Minister not to reverse the ban

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A police chief has urged Rishi Sunak to halt the smart highway rollout and prevent “more deaths”.

The prime minister previously promised a “comprehensive ban” on new smart highways after labeling them “unsafe”.

But Transport Secretary Mark Harper later ruled out building more of the controversial roads.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billingsis is now calling on the Prime Minister not to reverse the ban, describing the roads as ‘inherently dangerous’.

The PM previously promised a ‘comprehensive ban’ on new smart highways after labeling them ‘unsafe’

All-lane smart highways are designed to reduce traffic by allowing motorists to drive in the emergency lane.

Control room operators, aided by CCTV cameras and a radar system, monitor roads and close lanes in the event of a breakdown or collision.

However, dozens of drivers have been killed on the road, including some stranded in busy lanes of high-speed traffic.

And in a scathing letter to Mr. Harper, seen by the Mail, Dr Billings wrote: “I have consistently said that I believe they are inherently dangerous and that we should design hazards out of roads and not build in new hazards.”

Dr. Billings went on to say he was “encouraged by the opposition to smart highways expressed by the Prime Minister” in the leadership contests and “hoped this has not changed.”

National Highways is struggling to attract employees who notice breakdowns and close lanes to avoid collisions, it was reported

National Highways is struggling to attract employees who notice breakdowns and close lanes to avoid collisions, it was reported

National Highways is struggling to attract employees who notice breakdowns and close lanes to avoid collisions, it was reported

He added: ‘I am therefore writing to urge you to look again at these highways and would like a response from you stating that you will do so.

“We don’t want any more deaths where our coroners conclude that the lack of an emergency lane is a contributing factor.”

Claire Mercer, whose husband was killed on a smart highway in 2019, said: ‘It is disgraceful that Mr Sunak and other politicians have used this as political football.

“Meanwhile, people are still dying on these roads and families are being forced to pick up the pieces.”

Earlier this month, the Mail revealed how motorists faced a ‘smart motorway roulette’ as vital warning signs were hit by breakdowns.

And leaked emails from National Highways employees also revealed concerns about a shortage of control room personnel.

Sarah Champion, a Labor MP campaigning to ban smart highways, said: ‘Smart highways kill, and I’ve been telling the government that for years.

“It is not right that my constituents are being used as guinea pigs while the truth about these roads is staring the government in the face.”