IAM says drivers need more information on smart motorways

First published in The Global Road Safety Review 2015 as Educate drivers on smart motorways says IAM

A survey conducted by the UK Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) on the introduction of smart motorways found 71 per cent of drivers said they would feel less safe on a motorway with no hard shoulder than a motorway with one.

Smart motorways were officially introduced in 2014 to replace Managed Motorways as the solution to the nation’s congested motorways but concerns have been raised over their safety. Smart motorways utilise variable speed limits and all-lane running, with lane control, overhead gantries and emergency refuge areas.

Some 40 per cent of respondents said they were sceptical that new monitoring systems on smart motorways, such as traffic detectors and CCTV, would protect them in the event of stopping in a running lane and the increase in distances between safety refuges.

The IAM has expressed concern that widespread confusion still exists amongst motorway users on how best to use them, saying that Highways England must analyse incident data on a continuous basis and ensure that any lessons learned from the real-world use of smart motorways are implemented quickly. It claims that the smartest way to build awareness would be to allow learner drivers to use motorways under expert supervision.