Transport secretary Grant Shapps has praised the news brand’s investigation into smart motorways after he agreed it had highlighted issues
The Daily Mail’s campaign joined the efforts of motoring groups as well as campaigners who blame the rollout of smart motorways for the deaths of loved ones broken down in live lanes. Safety fears about the roads have grown after 24 deaths and dozens of accidents.
Last year, the publisher sent an undercover reporter into a CCTV control centre responsible for smart sections of the M25, M1 and M4. The investigation found more than 10% of cameras meant to spot stranded vehicles were broken, misted up or facing the wrong way.
In response to the Daily Mail’s findings and a parliamentary report, the government will halt the rollout of 120 miles of smart motorway until at least April 2024, when more data can be gathered on existing smart roads. Meanwhile, the Office of Rail and Road will review potentially ineffective radar technology meant to detect vehicles stuck in live lanes within 20 seconds.
The transport secretary has also announced £390 million to be spent on building 150 emergency laybys, boosting the number of laybys on smart motorways by around 50% and ensuring they are no more than a mile apart.
Shapps commented on the publisher’s findings last night, saying: “What [the Daily Mail’s] investigation showed was the safety culture needs to be in a completely different place. The Mail is due huge credit for backing up something that I think a lot of motorists, myself included, would be concerned about.
“The Mail has done a great service to the public and motorists. Your actions… will undoubtedly save loved ones in the future.”