Smart motorways present ongoing risk of future deaths, coroner concludes

PA

Smart motorways “present an ongoing risk of future deaths”, a coroner has concluded, following an inquest into the deaths of two men on a stretch of the M1 with no hard shoulder.

Sheffield coroner David Urpeth said the primary cause of death of Jason Mercer, 44, and Alexandru Murgeanu, 22, on the M1 in South Yorkshire in June 2019 was the careless driving of lorry driver Prezemyslaw Szuba, who ploughed into their vehicles as they stood stationary in lane one following a minor shunt.

But, recording a conclusion of unlawful killing, Mr Urpeth said: “I find, as a finding of fact, it is clear a lack of hard shoulder contributed to this tragedy.”

The coroner said he will be writing to Highways England and Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps recommending a review of smart motorways.

He told an inquest at Sheffield town hall: “I believe that smart motorways, as things currently stand, present an ongoing risk of future deaths.”

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