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Motorways

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 70323, tabled on 5 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that drivers understand the guidance on driving on a smart motorway.

Answered on

15 November 2021

The Smart Motorway Safety Evidence Stocktake and Action Plan, published in March 2020 committed to an additional £5 million on national and targeted communications campaigns to further increase awareness and understanding of smart motorways.

In March 2021, National Highways launched a £5 million major national public information campaign, ‘Go left’, to give drivers clear information about what to do in a breakdown. Wave 2 of this campaign was launched in October 2021 with the intention to deliver a further wave in due course.

We also committed to updating the Highway Code to provide more guidance for

motorists on smart motorway driving. Improvements to The Highway Code to improve safety on motorways and other high-speed roads came into effect on Tuesday 14 September 2021, with the publication of a revised edition on the Government website: www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code.

The DVSA sent direct emails to the driver, rider, and vocational training sectors, trainer bookers, professional drivers, vehicle operators, Highway Code email alert subscribers and learner drivers and riders, with nearly half a million people notified of the changes.

National Highways has an ongoing programme to communicate safety guidance to drivers across the strategic road network including the following:

  • A communications campaign in Autumn 2021 to highlight the e-call feature, that automatically contacts the emergency services in the event of a collision, that is built into new cars;
  • Raising awareness of using the emergency phones in emergency areas with timings to be confirmed, and about Red X compliance, currently planned to take place in November/December 2021;
  • Referencing and linking to the new Highway Code in future waves of National Highways’ breakdown campaign;
  • Communications around the next print edition of the Highway Code in spring 2022; and
  • A campaign about the dangers of close following took place in September 2021 and with a further wave to run in due course.

My Rt Hon Friend the Transport Secretary is absolutely committed to making smart motorways as safe as possible and we will always look at what more we can do.

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