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Safety fears after woman is killed on M1 'smart motorway' that had no hard shoulder

Ross McGuinness
Yahoo News UK
A woman was killed after she got out of a car that had broken down on the M1 (Picture: PA)

A woman has died in an accident after the car she was travelling in broke down on a “smart motorway” stretch of the M1 that had no hard shoulder.

The 62-year-old suffered fatal head injuries after she was struck by a vehicle on a stretch of the M1 near Sheffield on Sunday night, South Yorkshire Police said.

She was the passenger of a grey Nissan Qashqai which had broken down in lane on the northbound carriageway, about one mile north of Woodall Services, where there is no hard shoulder.

Both the victim and driver got out of the car at about 9.40pm, the force said.

Some 16 minutes later, a black Mercedes E-class hit the stationary Qashqai, which then hit the victim, police believe.

A grey Peugeot 407 and a black Volkswagen Golf were then involved in collisions with both the Mercedes and each other.

A 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remains in police custody.

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Smart motorways have been introduced on UK roads to reduce congestion by opening up the extra inside lane when required. The hard shoulder is abolished so the full width of the road can be in use.

The AA has called the lack of lay-bys a ‘major concern’.

AA president Edmund King said earlier this year: ‘Improving capacity and easing congestion on our motorways is key for the economy, but not at the expense of safety.

‘The gap between emergency refuge areas has been a major concern.’

On smart motorways red X on signs above the road indicates when the inside lane is not in use, often because of an accident or a breakdown.

If they see a red X, drivers must move out of the lane.

Part of the M3 also operates as a “smart motorway” (Picture: PA)

Last month, Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, warned: “Too many drivers who wouldn’t think of running a red traffic light still seem to treat the Red X as an advisory rather than a mandatory signal, used to protect their safety.”

Highways England plans to convert more than 15% of motorways into smart motorways over the next seven years at a cost of about £6 billion.

Officers are appealing to any motorists who were travelling on the M1 who may have witnessed the multi-vehicle crash on Sunday.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting incident number 916 of September 9.


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