play_arrow

keyboard_arrow_right

skip_previous play_arrow skip_next
00:00 00:00
chevron_left
volume_up
chevron_left
  • cover play_arrow

    Rother Radio (128k) Love Local, Love Music!

  • cover play_arrow

    Rother Radio (64K) Love Local, Love Music!

  • cover play_arrow

    Hit Music Radio (128K) More Music Variety!

  • cover play_arrow

    Hit Music Radio (64K) The Best Variety of Hits!

Local News

Widow hits back after ‘near miss’ video shows terrifying close shave on Yorkshire smart motorway

today12/01/2022

Background
share close

The widow of a man who was tragically killed on a smart motorway has hit out after recently released video footage showed a terrifying near-miss took place on the same stretch of road where he lost his life.

Jason Mercer, 44, died alongside Alexandru Murgeanu, 22, as they swapped insurance details following a bump on the M1 near Sheffield in 2019.

Now Jason’s wife Claire has said recently emerged footage of a ‘near miss’ on the same stretch of road shows just how dangerous the roads are, and she has called a fresh government announcement a ‘missed opportunity’ that doesn’t go far enough to make the controversial roads safer.

For the latest traffic news click here

Jason and Mr Murgeanu had pulled over to exchange details after the shunt, but because the stretch of road where the accident took place was classed as an ‘all lanes running’ (ALR) motorway, there was no hard shoulder and a lorry ploughed into them both.

Ever since, Jason’s widow, Claire Mercer, has campaigned for smart motorways to be scrapped.

The harrowing new footage, recorded last Wednesday (Jan 5), shows a vehicle driving along the M1 at night.

None of the overhead signs can be seen warning drivers of any stranded vehicles, but a car is filmed swerving a parked van at the last minute.

The driver filming the footage also had to swerve late in order to narrowly avoid missing the broken down vehicle.

Claire said that it was only thanks to the road being quiet at night, that there were no fatalities.

She said: “It just happens time and time again, and this is two and a half years after one of the most horrific incidents in recent memory.



Jason & Claire Mercer. The grieving widow of a driver killed on a smart motorway has launched a legal fight to wipe them off the map.
Claire Mercer with her husband Jason, who was killed on a stretch of ‘smart motorway’ in South Yorkshire

The driver filming the footage also had to swerve late in order to narrowly avoid missing the broken down vehicle.

Claire said that it was only thanks to the road being quiet at night, that there were no fatalities.

She said: “It just happens time and time again, and this is two and a half years after one of the most horrific incidents in recent memory.

“They had to send in a specialist team to retrieve the body parts from my husband’s crash.

“Two and a half years later, a quarter of the equipment at that junction is not working, and that video clearly shows it.”

It comes as the government has today announced it is pausing the smart motorways project. Ministers have confirmed they will halt the roll-out of new all-lane-running smart motorways until they have five years of safety data.

But Mrs Mercer has slammed this as a “missed opportunity”.

She told the PA news agency: “We have had review after review after review into smart motorways and never once have they turned off the first lane while they investigate them.

“Just turn off lane one and you’ve got your hard shoulder back.

“You just need to throw one switch at eight control centres and you’ve got your hard shoulder back immediately.”

The campaigner said: “They’d take lots more steps a lot more quickly if it was their loved ones that were being killed or maimed.”

And her calls were echoed by Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, who said while she welcomed the decision on new smart motorways, the existing roads were still “fundamentally unsafe”.

The MP added: “These deadly schemes should never have been commissioned without proper safety data in place.

Sign up to our breaking news Facebook group

We’re first for breaking news in Yorkshire – and now we have a Facebook group where you can keep up to date.

Join Breaking News and Incidents in Yorkshire to get the latest breaking news and post there if you see an incident you think is worth us covering

“Despite this welcomed U-turn from the Government, the reality is that they pressed ahead with a rapid rollout in the face of serious concerns from motoring organisations, campaigners and Members of Parliament.

“Tragically, the inevitable result of the Government ignoring evidence on safety of smart motorways has been needless deaths.”

She said that roads without a permanent hard shoulder would always risk cars becoming stranded in live lanes “with potentially catastrophic results” and said she would keep pressing for permanent hard shoulders to be brought back in.

At present, a 16 mile stretch of the M1 running between junction 32 – the M18 – and junction 35a, near the Meadowhall Shopping Centre, is classed as an all lanes running smart motorway.

The hard shoulder has been replaced with emergency refuges, that are roughly around a mile apart, although in some areas reports have emerged that the reality is far further.

Overhead signs also reportedly indicate the speed limit and whether a lane is closed.

According to today’s announcement, existing smart motorways will get more emergency refuge areas and technology to identify stopped vehicles will be installed where possible.

Yet in the disturbing video, filmed at 7:23 pm, a driver is recorded cruising behind a car on the M1 in South Yorkshire, just past the Tinsley viaduct, near junction 34.

Unknown to him, there is a stranded van parked close to the central reservation just up ahead, which is barely visible in the dwindling light.

The electronic overhead boards, which should indicate the lane is closed, still tell the road users to drive at 60mph and give no indication of the danger that lay ahead.

It is only as the vehicle approaches that the driver becomes aware of the blockage, as the vehicle in front gives a right-hand single, narrowly preventing a collision.

Across England’s motorway network there are currently 13 sections of all lane running motorways which don’t have a hard shoulder.

These include parts of the M1, M3, M5, M6 and M25.

To get the latest email updates from Yorkshire Live, click here .

Written by: Rother Radio News


Previous post

UK News

Woman, 51, felt ‘overwhelming shame’ after believing she had been spiked

A 51-year-old woman who believes her drink was spiked at a "quiet bar" in Cornwall says she didn't report what happened because she felt "overwhelming shame". Hannah Stratton says she realised something was wrong when her legs began feeling like lead, and felt "embarrassed" when others assumed she was drunk. Giving evidence to a Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry, Mrs Stratton said she thought she was "far too old" to […]

today12/01/2022