Edmund King, AA president, said: “From the outset we have told Ministers and Highways England we need more emergency refuge areas. The calls we listen to from members broken down in a live lane, parting they won’t be hit, are harrowing. The current system is an accident waiting to happen.
“Drivers concern at safety implications of smart motorways is growing yet Government refuses to act.
“Any incident in a live lane also causes chronic congestion due to lane closures so the rationale of smart motorways is backfiring’
A spokeswoman for Highways England said the average spacing of ERAs on smart motorways without a hard shoulder was now “just over a mile”. She insisted the new style of motorways are “good for drivers” because they add extra lanes letting more people travel, and use technology which “makes journeys more reliable and evidence proves they are as safe as traditional motorways, which are already among the safest roads in the world.”
She said the company will “continue to make some changes to the design of motorways” by making the ERAs “more visible”, with more signposting, as well as introducing detection systems to spot stationary vehicles.