Campaigner shares the tragic reason she's taking Highways England to court

29 January 2020, 17:05 | Updated: 29 January 2020, 17:21

This campaigner tells Nick Ferrari a shocking and tragic story about smart motorways and why she's raising funds to take Highways England to court.

Police Federation chief John Apter called "smart motorways" a "death trap" after it was found 38 people have died in the last five years due to the traffic management technique.

He said it is "inherently dangerous" to use hard shoulders as an extra driving lane and accused Highways England of misleading the country with this concept.

Claire Mercer, who lost her husband Jason due to a smart motorway last year, shared why she has started the campaign Smart Motorways Kill to get the policy removed.

Her husband had a minor bump with someone on the motorway and the pair pulled over as far as they could "but the barrier wouldn't let them get completely out of the live lanes and there was no banking for them to get over on to into safety.

"They swapped details... but they weren't picked up or spotted by the camera operators and a lorry didn't see them and hit them and killed them both instantly."

Police Federation chief called smart motorways a "death trap"
Police Federation chief called smart motorways a "death trap". Picture: PA

This tragic fatality happened on the M1 in Meadowhall, a motorway on which five people have died in the last ten months.

Mrs Mercer said she wanted to see smart motorways "completely scrapped" and insisted they should never have been opened.

She is raising funds for legal fees to take Highways England to court for judicial review of the smart motorways, as she wants to see them forcibly removed.

"I just don't understand how anybody thought it was a good idea and I sincerely hope that their loved ones aren't caught in the same situation," Mrs Mercer said, and explained how it has affected so many lives.

"It's wrecked my life, I've never even spent a night in the house on my own before and now I live on my own," she said, "it's affected every single part of my life."