SMART motorways have been branded a “death trap” and the £6billion rollout should be stopped immediately, cops have said.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, said the roads are dangerous and put police and drivers at risk.
Smart motorways are where the hard shoulder is used as a regular lane and Highways England insists they are safe because they have refuges for broken-down vehicles.
But Mr Apter, who represents rank-and-file officers, told the MailOnline: “They are a death trap. The country, police and we have been completely misled about the technology.
“A poorer system has been introduced and continues to be rolled out despite the clear dangers that they present. Smart motorways are inherently dangerous.”
It comes after the widow of a driver killed after breaking down has reportedly launched a corporate manslaughter case against Highways England.
Claire Mercer, 43, claims safety warnings were ignored. The case was launched after an MPs’ report claims the “shocking and careless” smart motorways scheme cost lives. Some 38 people have died after hard shoulders were allowed to be used as an extra lane.
The report found emergency refuge areas were too far apart at 1.5 miles rather than the 500 metres first proposed.
Then-Road Safety Minister Sir Mike Penning, who led the report, claimed: “What Highways England eventually rolled out bore no relation to the trial. I feel I was totally misled.”
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps told BBC Panorama’s Britain’s Killer Motorway? programme: “We absolutely have to have these as safe or safer as regular motorways or we shouldn’t have them at all.”
Claire’s husband Jason, 44, was struck on a “smart” stretch of the M1 near Sheffield last June. She said:
“Now I know I’m not some distressed widow peddling conspiracy theories. These roads are dangerous and people knew it.” The scheme has cost £2billion and includes 13 major motorways.
A Highways England spokesperson said: “The Transport Secretary has asked the department to gather the facts about smart motorway safety.”
Last year, eight-year-old Dev Naran was also killed on a smart motorway when he was on his way home from visiting his critically ill brother in Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
His grandad stopped the car on the inside lane of the M6 and the vehicle was hit by a lorry 45 seconds later.
Mum Meera Naran told the BBC that after the accident Dev’s body was then taken back to the hospital where his brother was being treated.
She said: “I had both my boys, one fighting for his life still and Dev just there. It wasn’t right, my two sons, one really sick, and the healthy one left me.”