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Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch battling for information on safety measures for M20 smart motorway

An MP is battling to find out what safety measures the M20 will have to spot broken down vehicles.

Tracey Crouch, who represents Aylesford and Chatham, is writing to Highways England.

Tracey Crouch
Tracey Crouch

She said: “I want to clarify what stopped vehicle detection methods are being installed on the M20 smart motorway.

“If there are none then it’s extremely dangerous.”

Highways England has not replied to KentOnline when asked if it will roll out new stopped vehicle detection technology on the Smart Motorway between junction 3-5.

There are more than 100 miles of Smart Motorway across the country where the hard shoulder has been replaced and all lanes are running.

These are on the M1, M3, M4, M5, M6, M25, M62.

Work progressing on the M20 smart motorway scheme at Lunsford Lane Bridge, Larkfield. Picture: Andy Jones
Work progressing on the M20 smart motorway scheme at Lunsford Lane Bridge, Larkfield. Picture: Andy Jones

In March last year van driver Derek Jacobs died after stopping his van where the hard shoulder once was on the M1 in Derbyshire.

It prompted the AA to voice ‘serious concerns’ over the scheme.

At least five people have died on Smart Motorways, four on the same stretch of the M1 where all lanes are running.

In 2018 107 people in total died on the country’s motorways.

Edmund King, AA president said: “We believe the Secretary of State should now announce a review into the safety of All Lane Running Schemes.

"We have already seen fatalities where vehicles have been left in vulnerable positions in live lanes..." - Edmund King

“Unfortunately we have already seen fatalities where vehicles have been left in vulnerable positions in live lanes. Previous research has shown that if Stopped Vehicle Detection is not in place it takes an average of 17 minutes to spot a stationary vehicle in a live lane.

“Our new study shows that public trust on removing the hard shoulder has pretty much evaporated. Before any further schemes begin, we need an urgent and independent review into the safety of existing ones.”

In July, roadworkers carrying out the upgrades on the M20 reached a landmark of working more than one million hours without an accident or injury.

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