Campaigner who lost husband calls for immediate end to renewal all-lane running


The woman, who has launched a high-profile campaign to shut down smart motorways after her husband was killed by a lorry, has called for immediate closure of inside lanes on all existing stretches.

Claire Mercer, whose husband Jason died on the M1 near Sheffield in June 2019, said Wednesday’s government announcement was a “gluing plaster” and a missed opportunity, adding: “They’re going to move too much and more would pick up fast if it was the love of those who were being killed or crippled.”

Mrs Mercer of Rotherham said policymakers needed no further analysis to conclude that smart motorways were fatal and added that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps needed to order all lanes to stop, effectively. recreating stiff shoulders from

Claire Mercer, whose husband Jason Smart was killed on a section of the motorway (Danny Lawson/PA) , PA Archive

“There’s no need for any of these reviews, any of these investigations,” she told the PA news agency.

“It didn’t work. It killed people. They have to stop killing people.”

Mrs Mercer said she welcomed the pause, but said it fell short of her aim to completely reverse the smart motorway policy.

She said: “There will be minimal casualties between now and then.”

But she continued: “All they needed to do was flick a switch.

“I’m from an engineering background and if you think a machine is bad you just turn it off before you check it out.

“We have done review after review at Smart Motorway and never once did they turn off the first lane during an investigation.

“Just turn off a lane and you’ve got your hard shoulder back. You just need to throw a switch to the eight control centers and you’ve got your hard shoulder back right away.”

Jason and Claire Mercer (Irwin Mitchell LLP) , Average PA

Jason Mercer, along with another man, Alexandru Murgenu, died on the M1 near the Meadowhall shopping center in Sheffield. He was attacked by a lorry after stopping in a lane after a minor collision.

Sheffield Coroner David Urpeth explained in an inquiry that “the lack of rigid shoulders contributed to this tragedy” and that smart motorways “present a constant risk of future deaths”.

Mrs Mercer has said that in 2020 the wrong person was jailed when lorry driver Przemisaw Szuba was sentenced to 10 months.