Supposed ‘life-saving’ technology on smart motorways has been found to fall desperately short of expected standards after a Daily Mail investigation.
The investigation, which used the Freedom of Information Act to access the information, revealed an internal report that detailed stopped vehicle detection (SVD) technology is flagging only 62 per cent of those stranded in live traffic within 20 seconds.
20 seconds is the time frame deemed acceptable by the National Highways Agency.
The failures in the technology ultimately mean broken down motorists are sitting ducks for oncoming traffic if neither a vehicle nor the technology picks up the breakdown.
The report also highlighted around a fifth of SVD alerts are wrong, the study found, including flagging breakdowns on the opposite carriageway as opposed to where they actually happen. The National Highways Agency says no more than 15% of incidents should be reported incorrectly – which in itself seems surprisingly high given what’s a stake.
The research raises fresh questions about why decision-makers and the National Highways Agency have pressed ahead with technology on our roads despite the volume of failures.
Jack Cousens, of the AA, said: ‘So-called “smart” motorways were sold to the public by National Highways because “if the worst happens, we will find you and keep you safe”.
‘Shockingly, drivers are sitting ducks for longer than they should be. These figures show the system is woefully inadequate.’