It is important to concentrate on educating drivers on the safe use of smart motorways, the Freight Transport Association has said following a statement by the House of Commons Transport Committee.
Smart motorways use technology to actively manage traffic, keeping vehicles flowing freely and increasing the capacity of the road by either temporarily or permanently opening the hard shoulder to traffic.
The extra capacity delivered by smart motorways gives an important boost to the freight industry, significantly reducing the cost of vehicles standing idle in congestion, which is around £1 for every minute that an HGV is stuck in traffic.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s Head of Road Network Management Policy, said:
“While we have no argument with looking at the spacing and/or size of refuges, current evidence does not suggest that this type of motorway has a worse safety record than those which have the comfort of a hard shoulder.
“Rather than denying road users the much-needed benefits of more reliable journey times, FTA believes that the focus should be on educating drivers on how to use smart motorways safely, what the various signs mean and what they should do in the event of a breakdown.”
FTA is in the final stages of developing a programme to train commercial drivers through a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) course on how to drive on smart motorways.