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

  • This topic has 31 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 9 months ago by James Walpole.
Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 38 total)
  • Author
  • #190391 Reply

    The AA has instructed its crews not to stop on smart motorways amid increasing safety concerns. The revelation comes after nine people died on such mo
    [See the full post at: AA patrols no longer assisting smart motorway breakdowns over safety concerns]

    #190411 Reply

    Hopefully Highways England will take this matter seriously and urge for some changes to the Smart motorways so that they are safer for those that do unfortunately break down.

    #190412 Reply
    Mark Bradbury

    The revenue generated from smart motorway speed cameras should pay for more emergency refused areas

    #190419 Reply

    Put hard shoulders back in ,they were safer

    #190420 Reply

    Our motorways are the most dangerous in Europe because of this so called “Smart Motorway” business. What also annoys me is the huge investment in the smart motorways and yet I see huge pot holes on the existing motorways which to me is inexcusable and dangerous.

    #190421 Reply
    Brian O’loughlin

    So what about the guy who works for the company that Highways England contact to recover broken-down vehicles then. Who’s looking out for him.?

    #190424 Reply

    They will never remove Smart Motorways as to do so would involve admitting liability for every death, injury and accident on them which would cost the Government millions of pounds. So there here to stay I live in Dorset we havent even got a motorway let alone a smart one.

    #190425 Reply
    Nick Horobin

    I bet they close the live lane so highways England
    can recover the vehicle

    #190427 Reply
    AA Patrol

    Where are you getting the 17 mins waiting time from.

    I regularly see people waiting over an hour for highways to show up due to the lack of camera cover.

    Some of these times I have had to phone and inform highways because they have no idea somebody has broken down on particular stretches of the M25

    #190429 Reply
    Allan martin

    After driving Hgv s for 63 years (yes)and boy have I seen some changes,and now they build death traps on motor ways, called SMART.whats smart about them.

    #190423 Reply
    William Gill

    It is my opinion that any reason to create smart motorways to reduce the amount of police on them because of the reduction in numbers is no excuse to put people whether they are commuters or employees of police,motoring organisations,or traffic England or Scotland ina life threatening situation.Something must be done and fast before more lives are claimed.

    #190434 Reply
    B Broad

    Perhaps the AA route-planner could in future include an option to avoid ‘smart (sic) motorways (which by any reasonable measure of logic and common sense are inherently dangerous)?

    #190436 Reply
    Janet Bradbury

    I think the smart motorways are too dangerous to use. It doesn’t matter how many safety exits they put in, if you break down you break down and are instantly immobile. I used to use the M4, but not any more thank you. I think motorists should vote with their wheels and refuse to use them.

    #190437 Reply
    Alan Meredith

    Suggestion for this scenario : On receipt of the call, the AA Control room ( or any of the other major Breakdown & Recovery Operators ) directs one of their Patrols to the nearest Motorway access point prior to to the Breakdown location. They advise the customer that Highways England will be requested to attend and provide Rear Protection and appropriate Lane closures to allow the AA to attend. Advise the customer to get out of their vehicle if safe to do so – from the nearside doors, and wait behind the roadside crash barriers – NOT inside their car with their seat belt on where they are at serious risk of a rear end collision ! The AA also alert Highways England requesting their attendance, and once confirmed that they are at the scene, with the Rear Protection and Lane Closure(s) in place, the AA Patrol can be advised to attend and carry out a Roadside repair or Recovery with the benefit of this protection. This will save the Customer, the AA, and Highways England, not mention all other motorists using that stretch of Motorway a LOT of time waiting for a third party Recovery Operator to attend just to recover the vehicle and deliver it to to an off Motorway “safe” place, at which time Highways England would need to be present anyway with Lane Closure(s) on for the Third Party Operator’s protection, only to move the broken down vehcile to another location where the AA Patrol is waiting ( probably for a considerable time ! ). Adopting thsi a standard procedure will shorten the time need to recover the vehicle, thus reducing the risk of a secondary collision / injury as much as possible.

    #190438 Reply
    Karen Hallett

    Put Hard Shoulders back.

    #190439 Reply
    Ethan Staniford

    To clear this matter up as some people don’t understand – it is Highways England that recover stranded vehicles not a third party recovery company.

    #190440 Reply
    N Head

    Legal Action required against Highways England

    #190435 Reply
    worried female

    Its horrendous i had a blow out on a section close to meadowhall and there is absolutely no where to go!! No pull ins for over a mile (probably more) so I’m limping the car at around 10 mph with hazards on …on the alloy rim with lorries swerving to avoid me!! Worst experience of my life !! I honestly thought this is it I am going to die …luckily i made it to the top of the slip road (still no hard shoulder but there was a barrier and a slope i could safely get behind . (Up to this point the motorway is raised and there is just a 6 ft high solid fence so had i stopped i couldn’t have got out of the car and gone anywhere)…i was physically shaking and crying as i crawled across from the drivers side to the passenger side to get out of the car to safety…bear in mind i could have still easily been hit at this point by something potentially travelling at 70 mph. It took 35 minutes for the traffic officers to arrive and remove my car to a safer place.

    #190446 Reply
    Nigel King

    Quite simply not been enough information about Smart Motorway Operation The Government just haven’t got the message out. Also people just don’t know what to do! and they will get fined for traveling on the lane if its a flashing cross, but unfortunately is a minor detail compared to what could happen.!

    #190451 Reply
    colm dowdall

    People think they can use the hard shoulder as a normal lane as it is . This is what us normal driver’s have to put uhave to swallow as the ignorant don’t give a …. About someone broke down .hence AA doing what they are .

    #190458 Reply
    Felix Minoey

    I worked on the birth of not so Smart Mways. The emergency services were 100% against them. Many near misses are unreported and deaths will continue to rise. Not only did they take away the Hard shoulder the lighting was removed. Stopped Vehicle Detection (SVD) is being installed but this is taking care too long. I hope smart motorways are removed. One day a very high profile accident will enforce this. It”s inevitable. Dangerous cost cutting by the government.

    #190459 Reply
    Brian Clark

    Overhead gantry all have the matrix sign to tell you the lane is closed / open or other nformation. Presumably they all have cameras fitted as they take your picture if exceeding the speed limit. Do they also operate in the event of a lane closed. If not, then why not, and make it 6 points and hefty fine if pictured.

    #190461 Reply
    Geoffrey Hickin

    I’ll never use them, it’s insane converting Normal motorways into killer roads! What happened to the saying it’s better to get there later than not at all. Put the hard shoulder back and yes people might have to travel longer but the answer to that is allow more time! I’ll no more use these s motorways than play Russian roulette. Think about that when you turn onto one next time because that’s what you’re doing!

    #190462 Reply

    I am an Aa patrol but no one has told me or anyone in my team not to stop on a smart motorway!!!

    #190463 Reply

    Smart motorways were supposed to give an extra lane but it just encourages undertaking and more danger.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 38 total)


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