AA no longer stopping on smart motorways to assist members over safety concerns

Roadside technicians told to head to safe location and wait for the driver's car to be moved by Highways England

AA no longer stopping on smart motorways to assist members over safety concerns
The AA has said smart motorways are not safe for breakdown organisations to recover vehicles unless the lane is closed.

The AA has confirmed that it has instructed its crews not to stop on smart motorways amid increasing safety concerns.

The revelation comes after nine people died on such motorways last year.

A former AA patrolman of the year confirmed the company’s policy on the BBC’s Inside Out North West last night (January 20).

Instead, roadside technicians should head to a safe location and wait for the driver’s car to be moved there by Highways England.

Related: Why’s it taking so long to better protect roadside technicians?

Tony Rich, a former AA patrolman of the year, said: “We’ll contact the customer to say ‘we can’t stop where you are’.

“We will contact Highways England, go to a safe area and wait for the vehicle to be delivered.”

Some drivers have to wait up to 17 minutes before there car is moved because they may be out of sight of camera which monitor for stranded cars.

Related: Recovery and repair firm fined over death of mechanic

Edmund King, AA president said: “Being stuck in a live lane is in incredibly dangerous.

“The official advice is keep your seat belt and hazard lights on and dial 999.

“It is not safe for breakdown organisations to recover vehicles unless the lane is closed and has a physical presence sat behind the casualty vehicle.

“This is either the Police with blue flashing lights or Highways England Traffic Officers with red flashing lights.

Related: Smart motorways risk road safety in event of live lane breakdown, 68 per cent of drivers agree

“This highlights the severity of breaking down in a live lane and further emphasises our calls for double the number of Emergency Refuge Areas.

“Providing drivers with more places of relative safety would reduce the risk of vehicles being stuck in a lane of fast moving traffic.”

Recent figures from Highways England revealed 19,316 vehicles stopped in a live lane over the past two years.

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Home Page Forums AA patrols no longer assisting smart motorway breakdowns over safety concerns

Viewing 14 posts - 26 through 39 (of 39 total)
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  • #190467 Reply

    Opinions are like arse holes. Everyone has got one.

    #190468 Reply

    They’re not smart at all. I call them DUMB motorways, and as I can’t practically avoid using them with the distances I frequently need to cover, I treat the inside lane as the hard shoulder, and never drive in it until it’s time for me to exit.

    I’d rather be a middle lane hogger than plough into the back of a broken down vehicle!

    #190469 Reply
    John Pisano

    Not enough cameras for breakdowns but plenty of cameras for speeding penaltys

    #190471 Reply
    Bob Smith

    “Our motorways are the most dangerous in Europe ” Utter tosh. We have the safest roads in Europe. A simple google search will confirm that. If FEWER people are killed on a smart motorway than a traditional motorway with a hard shoulder, how can they be more dangerous? It’s a stupid argument to have. Many fatalities you see in the news are on the hard shoulder, they are not safe places.

    #190460 Reply
    Emily norton

    It is terrible.My car broke down and the steering went.I would have been killed if I had been on a smart motorway.I no longer go on the m4 now and will try and avoid m6

    #190488 Reply

    Oh man, the amount of stupid comments here is unbelievable. So you want to boicot the motorways. I would dread the day when all that trafic ends up on A roads. You wait and see then overtaking and deaths. It’s easy, don’t drive it like you stole it. Preventive driving is what keeps you out of trouble.

    #190588 Reply
    W N Jenkins

    Surely the hard shoulder is the safest place, get out of the vechicle on the passengers side and over the fence if possible, these smart motorways as has been proved are a disaster waiting to happen.
    I wouldn’t want to see anyone sit in their vehicle for any length of time waiting foer a recovery
    Back to the normal hard shoulder is the best way to go, we may then avoid further deaths in these lanes.

    #190610 Reply
    John Bamford

    Hard shoulders were deemed essential when we thought travelling at 70 miles per hour was dangerous Why the hell have we got rid of some of them now? Its speed on the cheap!

    #190612 Reply

    Can’t blame AA as there is no suitable risk assessment to deal with this hazard. Nobody in their right mind would stop or stay in their car on the smart motorway. They are the goverments easy answer to increasing motorway capacity and they don’t care about safety. Eventually however we all need to realise that the private car will be banned due to congestion, emissions and pollution. We need to abandon smart motorways and spend money on the railways but not HS2

    #190615 Reply

    All the time and money they have spent (and are still spending) on this absurdity should have been put towards doing the job properly: Adding extra lanes, and retaining the hard shoulder.
    And, instead of spending hundreds of billions on HS2, improve and subsidise rail freight, and get some of those lorries off the road.

    #190614 Reply

    This is interesting…as AA has NOT told
    its recovery drivers this yet. ??? Strange
    that, dont you think? AA recovery drivers will
    stop.and recover on smart motorways once highways
    agency have blocked the lane to enable recovery.
    Bit of scaremongering reporting here possibly?

    #190770 Reply
    James Walpole

    In any other industry health and safety would have intervene

    #190926 Reply

    Lets be honest here,smart motorways were introduced to save money over building a proper 8 or 10 lane carriageway and any option involving saving money or cutting staff is almost always gonna be second best. What did they expect? People broken down in an active motorway lane to IMPROVE safety?dear god….

    #204657 Reply
    Eddie Bamber

    Alan Meredith has it right, but AA Patrols are under enormous pressure for job performance targets. They can’t afford to be sitting round waiting for the Highways Agency or the Police to attend – and that leads to dangerous corners being cut. Also, it’s not as simple as the Highways Agency putting a rope on the vehicle and towing it up to the safe point. Sometimes, the towing eye is missing from the vehicle’s toolkit or in the case of some automatic vehicles, they lock in ‘Park’ and won’t roll if the battery is flat. The Highways Agency are not equipped to carry out vehicle recovery and leave themselves open to claims for damage. Getting rid of dangerous not-Smart motorways is the only solution.

Viewing 14 posts - 26 through 39 (of 39 total)


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