Huge parts of UK's 'smart motorways' not so clever after suffering tech glitch

A large part of England’s smart motorway network was hit by a two-hour software failure yesterday – prompting renewed calls for the ‘death trap’ roads to be axed.

The Dynac system – which includes signs, signals and stopped vehicle detection technology (SVD) – ceased working at around 8.30am and was not restored until 10.30am. Only the east and south-east were unaffected.

AA president Edmund King said drivers who broke down in live lanes – with no hard shoulder to take refuge on – were ‘sitting ducks’. National Highways said it was ‘urgently investigating’.

Labour MP for Rotherham Sarah Champion, whose constituent Jason Mercer was killed on a smart motorway in South Yorkshire in 2019, said there had been a ‘series of outages’ on the network. And she said the controversial roads were still being created, despite the government ordering a pause.

Ms Champion added: ‘By spring of this year, four new sections of all-lane-running motorways will begin operation. While the government dithers, constituencies like mine continue to host death trap roads.’

The fault meant a car stopped in a running lane would not automatically be detected and overhead signs could not mark lanes as closed. It follows a Daily Mail campaign for safer motorways after a reporter found more than one in ten safety cameras were faulty.

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