By Martin Beckford For Mail On Sunday
Published: 22:09 BST, 21 September 2019 | Updated: 22:09 BST, 21 September 2019
Extra police patrols are being deployed to prevent fatalities on a 'smart motorway' stretch of the M1 where the controversial scheme has been blamed for four deaths.
More than 400 miles of seven motorways have already been converted to smart motorways, where the hard shoulder is removed to create an extra lane of traffic and the speed limit can be lowered depending on conditions.
Campaigners and politicians have called for a planned doubling of the scheme to be halted until safety improvements are made.
Now South Yorkshire Police has revealed it is having to put more traffic officers on duty along stretches of the M1 where the hard shoulder has been removed by Highways England.
Campaigners and politicians have called for a planned doubling of the scheme to be halted until safety improvements are made. Pictured: A section of the M1 four-lane smart motorway in West Yorkshire
An official report says the extra patrols are needed to look out for motorists whose vehicles have broken down and are stranded in speeding traffic without a safe refuge.
This is the first time a major police force has raised fears over the safety of the scheme. Four people were killed in less than a year on a smart motorway section of the M1 in South Yorkshire.
Police have previously only expressed concern that the lack of hard shoulder on the new roads makes it more difficult to chase and catch suspects.
But South Yorkshire Police go far further in a new annual report, stating: 'Roads policing resources attend incidents on the motorway network including where vehicles have broken down in live lanes, where they are often the closest resource to ensure the