Smart motorway death widow's victim evidence call

image copyrightPA Media
image captionClaire Mercer, from Rotherham, has campaigned against the use of smart motorways since her husband's death

A widow whose husband was killed in a crash on a smart motorway is urging people affected by similar incidents to contribute to an official inquiry.

Claire Mercer, from Rotherham, said she wanted people to submit evidence about their experiences to the Commons Transport Select Committee (TSC).

The inquiry was launched after a coroner said smart motorways created an "ongoing risk" of future deaths.

Friday is the closing date for submissions, according to the TSC.

The TSC inquiry is to assess the safety of smart motorways; public confidence in their use; their benefits; and the effectiveness of their rollout.

Smart motorways, which use technology to maintain the flow of traffic and give information on overhead displays, have existed in England since 2002.

The all-lane-running version, which involves opening the hard shoulder permanently to drivers, began in 2014.

Another version uses a "dynamic hard shoulder", which opens and closes to traffic depending on congestion.

image copyrightOther
image captionAlexandru Murgeanu (l) and Jason Mercer were killed in a crash on the M1 in South Yorkshire in 2019

Mrs Mercer's husband Jason and another driver, Alexandru Murgeanu, were killed instantly when a lorry crashed into them on the M1 near Sheffield in June 2019.

Mr Mercer, 44, and Mr Murgeanu, 22, from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, had pulled over to exchange details after a minor collision when they were hit.

At the inquest, a coroner found the lack of a hard shoulder had contributed to their deaths.

Mrs Mercer, who has been calling for smart motorways to be scrapped since the crash, said: "These roads have been built all over the country without any proper consideration to the public's safety or the views of the people who use them.

"I wouldn't want others to face the heartbreak and pain I live with every day after Jason's death. Therefore, it's vital everyone whose lives have been affected in some way by these roads ensure they have their say."

When the TSC investigation was launched, the Department for Transport said: "We welcome this important inquiry from the Transport Committee and we will provide written evidence to help it in its work."

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