Coroner warns of more smart motorway deaths without education

A coroner has warned that the public needs to be told that nobody may be watching if they break down on smart motorways.

The Telegraph reports that Nicola Mundy, senior coroner for Doncaster Coroner’s Court, has written to National Highways to warn that there is a “lack of public understanding” regarding the need to contact the authorities about vehicles marooned on the motorways.

This follows the the death of a mother who was left stranded in fast-moving traffic. 153 vehicles drove past mother-of-five Nargis Begum, 62, before a Mercedes smashed into the back of her Nissan Qashqai on the M1 in South Yorkshire on September 9, 2018. Mrs Begum was stuck in live traffic on the road with no hard shoulder for over 15 minutes before the fatal collision.

After conducting an inquest into Mrs Begum’s death, Ms Mundy sent a report to prevent future deaths to National Highways.

She wrote that it “does not appear to have been a priority” for the government agency to educate the public on how smart motorways operate, specifically regarding the need to contact the authorities when they spot a person in need of help.”

Connected Car expert Andy Graham, one of the co-founders of VESOS, has previously explained that eCall technology built into cars could be manually used by drivers to alert emergency services to the exact location of stranded vehicles on motorways.

(File picture – Highways News)


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