Smart motorways: Bereaved wife fighting to stop others suffering

12 April 2021, 12:09 | Updated: 12 April 2021, 12:38

Smart motorways: Bereaved wife fighting to stop others suffering

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The wife of a man who was killed while trying to repair his van in a smart motorway has told LBC she doesn't want another family experiencing her grief.

It comes after an investigation into Highways England files has found that emergency services have actively condemned smart motorways as paramedics have significant trouble getting to patients.

Sally Jacobs, 83, lost her husband, Derek, of the same age, in March 2019 as he attempted to fix his vehicle after failing to reach an emergency refuge area on the M1.

It is reported emergency services took nine hours to get to him.

The widow has been campaigning against smart motorways ever since, taking her fight to Highways England bosses and the Department for Transport.

Transcripts of digital communications from the accident show Highways England failed to shut a carriageway despite repeated "urgent" requests to allow an air ambulance to land. Instead, helicopter paramedics were forced to touch down in a field near the motorway.

There were also numerous reports of "heavy traffic" in the hours after the crash, which potentially prevented police, fire crews and ambulances from accessing the scene.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari, Mrs Jacobs explained that the devastating event had inspired her to campaign against the use of smart motorways.

Smart Motorways: 'Would you rather get somewhere 20 mins late, or be killed?'

Smart motorways: Shapps orders review after 'genuine worries' about death stats

Nick Ferrari has previously questioned the safety of smart motorways
Nick Ferrari has previously questioned the safety of smart motorways. Picture: PA / LBC

"I have been ticking on about the fact you can't get the emergency services down them but nobody seems to be listening," she told the LBC presenter.

"They couldn't get to my Derek, as I've said to you before. The motorway was closed for nine hours."

She added: "Because there hasn't been an inquest after two years, I don't really know what went on. But one thing that did console me is that the porter said he died within an hour so he wouldn't have suffered."

Asked why she continues to fight against smart motorways, Mrs Jacobs said: "Because it's very painful and I don't want it to happen to anybody else.

"I want to stop any other family grieving in the way that this family is grieving."

Charles Scripps, 78, was a passenger in another car involved in the incident. He died seven weeks later in hospital.

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast

'We would seek a better agreement' Keir Starmer tells LBC where he thinks "botched" Brexit deal can be improved

Exclusive
Sir Keir Starmer speaks to LBC

‘No magic wand’ to recruit more teachers as Starmer insists removing ‘tax breaks’ for private schools is ‘tough choice’

Tom Weatherall is still searching for his treasured medals which went missing in France

Renewed plea for missing medals lost in France as RAF veteran gifted with set of replicas

'Economically Brexit's working': Nigel Farage says but claims it has 'not been properly implimented'

'Economically Brexit's working': Nigel Farage says but claims it has 'not been properly implemented'

Nigel Farage says Germans should 'get a sense of humour' amid calls for football fans who chant 'Ten German Bombers' to be prosecuted

Nigel Farage says Germans need to 'get a sense of humour' if football fans sing Ten German Bombers chant

Nigel Farage in the LBC studio today and (right) on the Reform UK campaign bus in Barnsley, South Yorkshire this week

'This is how ordinary people speak': Farage defends Reform UK candidates after anti-Islam and far-right comments exposed

Exclusive
Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride was put on the spot by an LBC listener from a "Blue Wall" constituency rained down a barrage of complaints about soaring mortgages, the NHS crisis, crumbling schools and roads, and dentist shortages.

'Why would anyone sane vote for the Tories?': Minister put on the spot with barrage of complaints from LBC listener

Mr Weatherall's lost medals

Nick Ferrari offers £500 reward for return of RAF veteran's medals lost yesterday in Ranville, France

Kemi Badenoch rules out serving alongside Nigel Farage after he hints at Tory takeover.

Nigel Farage 'wants to destroy the Conservative Party', Kemi Badenoch tells LBC

'We've got to give these people justice': Ministers vow to address any criminal wrongdoing in infected blood report

'We've got to give these people justice': Ministers vow to address any criminal wrongdoing in infected blood report

'Minuscule state' of RAF is 'utterly pathetic' meaning just one plane available for D-Day 80th anniversary parachute jumps

'Minuscule state' of RAF is 'utterly pathetic' with just one plane available for D-Day 80th anniversary parachute jumps

Chancellor brands Labour plan to tackle small boat crossings 'absolute joke' which will 'encourage more people to come'

Chancellor brands Labour plan to tackle small boat crossings 'absolute joke' which will 'encourage more people to come'

Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick said Conservative voters were "on strike" and needed Rishi Sunak's government to be honest about the mistakes that have been made.

Tory voters are 'on strike' and Sunak needs to be 'honest' to keep them on side, Robert Jenrick says

The UK government is 'deeply concerned' about the assault on the Rafha crossing in Gaza and wants to see a 'credible military plan' from Israel.

UK government 'deeply concerned and need to see credible military plans' after Israeli offensive on Rafah crossing

Met chief Sir Mark Rowley has said that anyone using a 'swastika in the context of the Middle East crisis' will be arrested.

Met police chief pledges to arrest protesters using swastikas at Gaza protests

Sir Mark Rowley said filming interactions with police at protests had become "intrusive".

Filming police at protests is 'physically intrusive' and 'escalates situations', says Met Commissioner