Highways England is being accused of ignoring disabled drivers’ safety on smart motorways.
The Daily Telegraph reports that disability campaigners are supporting a legal challenge claiming that removing the hard shoulder breaks the Equality Act by discriminating against disabled drivers.
The report says numerous wheelchair users are “petrified” of breaking down because they would struggle to get out of specially adapted fearing that if they did get out – often on a ramp at the rear – they wouldn’t be able to clamber over safety barriers.
The Telegraph spoke to Dr Stephen Duckworth OBE, governor of Motability, who said, “The absence of a hard shoulder has resulted in me being more anxious on smart motorways which has adversely affected my social life. I feel like my rights have been infringed upon.”
The paper also spoke to Highways England whose spokesperson said, “All our roads are built in line with disability legislation and we have worked with Disabled Motoring UK to provide advice specifically for disabled people. This is in addition to the advice in the Highway Code.
“We continually review our public information to ensure it is as up to date and comprehensive as possible and are preparing a new extensive campaign to help drivers feel and be even safer on all of our roads including smart motorways.”