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Local News

Rotherham woman who lost husband in M1 smash backs smart motorways inquiry

today07/04/2021

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A Rotherham woman whose husband died in a smart motorway crash is urging other people to speak out about their experiences of safety on the controversial roads.

Claire Mercer’s husband Jason was killed alongside Alexandru Murgreanu on June 7 2019 when they stopped their vehicles on an all lane running (ALR) stretch of the M1 near Sheffield following a minor collision.

The ALR, a type of smart motorway, did not have a hard shoulder and both men were killed when they were hit by a lorry driven by Prezemyslaw Szuba.

Following their deaths an inquest was told that Jason’s and Alexandru’s death may have been avoided had there been a hard shoulder.

Ms Mercer, who wants ALRs to be stopped, is now calling on others to share their experience on smart motorways to help a parliamentary inquiry into the controversial roads. The deadline is this Saturday.

Claire’s husband Jason Mercer was killed in a minor crash on a smart motorway in 2019

She said: “Jason and Alexandru are not alone in what happened to them; people continue to be killed or injured on smart motorways.

“Undoubtedly there will be many other families also grieving, as well as many others who have been seriously injured and whose lives have changed because of these roads, not to mention those who have experienced near misses.

“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 know nothing can bring him back but I wouldn’t want others to face the heartbreak and pain I live with every day after Jason’s death.

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“Therefore it’s vital that everyone whose lives have been affected in some way by these roads ensure they have their say.

“The government and Highways England need to take notice and action. By contributing to this review you can help them do so.”

An independent report into smart motorways commissioned by Irwin Mitchell, the law firm representing Ms Mercer, found ALRs had “the lowest level of intrinsic safety” when compared with any other form of motorway.

The report found that the risk of being involved in a live lane breakdown on an ALR was 216 per cent higher than on a standard motorway because there was no hard shoulder for drivers to rely on after a collision or breakdown.

Following the deaths of Mr Mercer and Mr Murgreanu parliament’s transport select committee agreed to carry out an inquiry into the use of smart motorways.

Written by: Rother Radio News


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