Join the fight to stop any more Smart Motorway deaths

by Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Join the fight to stop any more Smart Motorway deaths

by Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill
Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill
Case Owner
We found out the hard way just how dangerous All Lane Running Smart Motorways are and we want to stop anyone else going through what we have.
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Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill
Case Owner
We found out the hard way just how dangerous All Lane Running Smart Motorways are and we want to stop anyone else going through what we have.
Pledge now

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Latest: Sept. 16, 2021

Protest Action 1st November- Whitehall


It might seem that the protest should take place on a motorway! But I feel that as well as being incredibly dangerous, and therefore playing in to the hands of our detractors, recent protests ON a mo…

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Who We Are:

My Name is Claire Mercer and three months ago my husband, Jason Mercer, was killed on an All Lanes Running (ALR) 'Smart Motorway'.

Alexandru Murgeanu was also killed in the same incident, he was just 22 years old.

With my family as a campaign team and an army of people who feel as strongly as we do about the dangers of 'smart motorways' we are calling for an immediate halt to them, particularly ALR motorways, where there is never a hard shoulder. To do this we need a judicial review of the decision to bring them in.

We can't bring this legal action alone. If you believe Smart Motorways are dangerous please contribute whatever you can and share this page with your friends, family and on social media. 



Case Background:

Jason and Alexandru had a minor collision on the M1 near junction 34. In order to assess damage and swap details, they pulled over as far to the left side of the motorway as they could, but were limited by barriers and bankings.

Because this section of motorway is ALR there was no hard shoulder and they were not to know the nearest Emergency Refuge Area was out of sight, a mile away.
The technology provided in this stretch of motorway and indeed in over 80% of all 'smart motorways' is not capable of detecting when only a few cars stop in live lanes, so the lane wasn't closed until after they were killed by a HGV six minutes later.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, 4 people have now died on just this stretch of motorway in the last ten months, in fact there another "Live Lane Incident" at J29 last night, but it’s also happening all over the country, its only just coming to light how many of these incidents are on and because of, smart motorways.

The horrific truth of just how dangerous so-called Smart Motorways are is only now starting to come out.

Our Legal Action:

We need a Judicial review of the decision to allow Smart Motorways to be brought in.

"Judicial Review: A Judicial review (JR) is the process by which judges examine the decisions of public bodies and consider whether the law has been correctly followed"

We need your help to fund the legal fight to stop more people dying or being injured for the sake of budgets, income generated by penalty fines and spreadsheets showing formulas of cost against KSI (killed, seriously injured!)

We have instructed Yogi Amin, Partner and National Head at Irwin Mitchell LLP. Who has stated that this is a very important case which will have a wide ranging impact. His concerns echo those already provided in several reports by the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee, who have called for an immediate halt to smart motorways.

We need to raise approx. £2,000 initially to start the paperwork/application for a Judicial Review and a total of £20,000 to take the fight all the way to court. All funds will be transferred directly to our legal team.

The sooner we can start, the sooner we can show we are serious.

Jason was an amazing, multi-faceted man who stood out in a crowd. He believed in equality and he fought to defend his and other rights, he loved all types of music from classical to heavy metal. he worked hard, drank knowledge in like a sponge and defined his worth by his ability to look after me and others. My family, his sister’s family and I have lost an absolute diamond, in the cruellest manner. The only thing that helps us while we try to come to terms with this loss, is trying to stop the same happening to others.

Thank you very much for your support.

Regards

Claire Mercer

www.smartmotorwayskill.co.uk 

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Update 19

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Sept. 16, 2021

Protest Action 1st November- Whitehall


It might seem that the protest should take place on a motorway! But I feel that as well as being incredibly dangerous, and therefore playing in to the hands of our detractors, recent protests ON a motorway (the M25) show how this type of action is represented and interpreted. 
The campaigners only got to actually stage their protest for a very short period of time, at great expense to their safety. They were physically removed, and at least some of them arrested and will possibly be charged. 
Some of us have lost family members, we don’t need to lose our careers as well. The protest caused considerable delays to the general public and generated a lot of ill will. 
This is not what we are aiming to do. Smart Motorways Kill has done far, far more to educate the public on what a smart motorway is, than the government ever has, that alone has saved lives, so putting ourselves against the general public is not an option.
Smart Motorways were and are a political decision and we need to take this fight to the decision makers! In the hope they will see sense before the legal action forces them too, to avoid at least some of the coming inevitable deaths.
We will be holding a protest at the offices of the Department for Transport (33 Horseferry Rd, Westminster, London Sw1P 2Aa) on Monday the 1st of November early afternoon (exact time tbc)
We feel its very important that as many people as possible turn up to show support. 
There is also a Government Comprehensive Spending Review taking place, and its been suggested that we should aim for a double protest outside the nearby Treasury Office at the same time. As this review will be looking to all government departments to reduce spending, and its now been proven that as well as costing lives, Smart Motorways are costing the public billions of pounds for a dangerous white elephant that is not giving the promised economic returns (except to the large private contracting companies winning the bids for the work!)
You can submit your own representation to the Comprehensive Spending Review here https://bit.ly/3kaAsAL (its very quick and easy to do)
Please note: The idea is to get as much attention as possible, with absolutely no trouble. I’m already being personally blamed for deaths on A roads by certain government minsters so I wanted to spell that out. The idea is for a stationary protest with banners and placards.
I will try and keep up with comments to this post (except on Twitter, which is so fast moving that is not possible) but if you have any questions NOT answered in the above, please email info@smartmotorwayskill.co.uk AND BE PATIENT please. 
It is not possible for us to arrange transport from all areas (but please feel free to try and arrange that amongst yourselves if there’s enough commenting giving their locations) but we are looking at arranging a coach from Rotherham/Sheffield area.
Update 18

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

May 28, 2021

Thank you all so much for your on-going support

Highways England are trying to 'slow time' us, hoping the campaign will lose momentum, they are purposely using delaying tactics to hold up the legal process. 

The government, DfT and Highways England suddenly and unexpectedly made a huge song and dance a few weeks ago, issuing cryptic press releases saying they had statements to make on smart motorways. When the announcement came there was very little new in it. It was mainly the same old promises that have been recycled for at least 6 years, by sheer co-incidence the deadline on our pre-legal action expired the next day!

After announcing to the country that they had made a whole raft of new, informed decisions on the Tuesday, by the Wednesday: [paraphrased reply to our lawyers] We have not had time to read the very compressive expert report and don't know when we will have time!

So the informed decisions came about without consulting the only truly independent expert submission.

We will not give up but its looking increasingly likely that we are going to have to take yet more action in order to stop the delaying tactic.

I was warned at the start of this that "this process will take a long time" and my reply was "my husband will be dead for a long time"

Update 17

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

April 12, 2021

Please find following more detail on the previously mentioned Experts Report.

Please find following more detail on the previously mentioned Experts Report.

Sarah Simpson of Royal HaskoningDHV, a transport planner with 20 years of experience and author of the report stated:


  • That she was in “no doubt that the ALR smart motorway has the lowest level of intrinsic safety” of all motorways. This is because “best practice” in road safety, known as Safe Systems – which focuses on eliminating the most deadly hazards – wasn’t properly adopted or considered when implementing smart motorways.


  • That people are more likely to be involved in live lane incidents on ALR smart motorways and that when this happens “people are more likely to die or be seriously injured”.


  • As a result of Highways England not fully implementing the Safe Systems approach to road safety, the ALR motorways safety is compromised.


  • Highways England adopted the Safe Systems approach in 2015 – seven years after the Transport Select Committee identified it as “warranting proper exploration for adoption”.


  • The public expected meaningful consultation on smart motorways as they were a “material change to the transport network”. Local highway authorities frequently consult on new bus stops, and Highways England consults on major changes, such as the A303 at Stonehenge, but failed to do so in respect of smart motorways.


  • Aside from the M42 pilot and despite the need for strong public engagement being identified by the guidance to designers of smart motorways as early as 2008, this has not happened. The first public or stakeholder engagement on smart motorways was in 2019, 10 years after the first permanent smart motorways opened.


  • That she was “struck by the paucity of data and analysis underpinning the decision”, in particular that the evidence provided by the 2020 Smart Motorways Stocktake was partial and failed to allow direct comparison of the various types of smart motorway.


  • As a result, “the decision to continue with the type of smart motorway which is associated with the highest rate of people killed or seriously injured is not justified.”


There are proposed changes to the spacing of emergency laybys and the development of technology to identify stranded vehicles. Yet the report found that ALRs would still have fewer safety measures in place than other countries which have ALR and which have adopted Smart Systems, such as Australia.

Update 16

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

April 8, 2021

And the first legal shot has been fired!

The experts report has been finished after a year of work. The sole purpose of commissioning this independent report was as follows:

You must file a judicial review within 3 months of a decision or action, obviously smart motorways have been in longer than 3 months. So Irwin Mitchell needed a new 'decision' from Highways England on with to hinged a judicial review on. Hence the report.

The report how now been sent to Highways England with evidence based observations and recommendations. i.e. we need the hard shoulder back. and a Pre Letter before Action, to confirm we will start legal proceeding.

Highways England can now choose to accept and adopt the reports recommendations, which would be great as we would get the hard shoulder back quicker. Or they can reject it, if the do reject it that is the 'decision' we need to file in court for a Judicial Review to get smart motorways banned in law.

Its taken over 18 months to get to this point, but I'm sure I can see the hard shoulder on the horizon!

 


Update 15

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Jan. 23, 2021

Inquest!

The inquest went as well as such a horrible experience can go, as at the trial we learnt more details about what happened before, during and after Jason & Alexandru's deaths and after 18 months it still hurts.

The intense media interest has been exhausting but great for getting the message out there and has had a great effect on this crowd funder too. I just wanted to make it clear, in case it wasn't already, the original target of £20,000 was only ever to get us to court. Anyone who's experienced legal costs before will be aware that £20,000 does not buy a year and a half's work by a team of lawyers, barrister, QC's and legal experts.
It was always explained to me that more would be needed once we got closer to the court date (I have a meeting next week to discuss time lines, etc) so I just wanted to explain why the target is moving, unfortunately that was always the case, its just done in portions, so as not to make the full amount seem insurmountable!

Thank you again

Claire

Update 14

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Jan. 17, 2021

Inquest Tomorrow (Monday 18th Jan)

The inquest into Jason & Alexandru's deaths starts tomorrow. Its had to be moved to Sheffield Town Hall because of the number of people and media wanting to attend.

I feel sick and don't want to go, I don't want to put my family through this either, but I feel I must go and my family want to be by my side.

There are things the Coroner can do to help end smart motorways but we won't know if he will be using those powers until the end of the inquest (Tuesday) I just hope we don't sit thought all the detail for no reason. 

Either way the campaign will continue and the fight goes on.

Update 13

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Nov. 25, 2020

So many different forms of legal action

We have now got so many different forms of legal action on the go its making me a bit dizzy!
The Judicial Review (JR) is still by far the most important as it has the best outcome. i.e. getting smart motorways (SM) banned in a court of law.

As well as the JR, we have also reported Highways England (HE) to the Police for Corporate Manslaughter. South Yorkshire Police have declined to investigate this complaint, so unfortunately we've had to refer this decision to the IoPC. This is not an action we wanted to take, but we can't just sit by and let 'business' politics take over investigations into Jason's & Alexandru's death.

We have also put an appeal out for other people that have been injured or had loved ones killed on SM to join us in what is basically a class action suit against HE.

Jason & Alexandru's inquest has been ruled an Article 2 inquest, this refers to Article 2 of the Human Rights Act, and examines whether the 'state' are involved in a person death (HE are a government own company) We have now instructed legal representation for the inquest, which is currently scheduled for mid January, but this may now change.

SMK is still looking into how we can bring a case for disability discrimination against HE too, because people with limited mobility are in even more danger on these roads. We need to look into whether to add this to the JR or whether to bring it as a separate complaint.

We are also doing a lot of research and work behind the scenes, sending Freedom of Information requests, canvassing people and organisation that can help, researching our options and reviewing data and reports, keeping social media updated and doing lots of media interviews.

So we are keeping very busy as the gears of law turn slowly, in these unprecidentent times.

Regards

Claire


Update 12

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Oct. 20, 2020

We are becoming a force to be reckoned with!

With the yesterdays court case getting so much media attention it shone a light on just how strong the hate, fear and strength of feeling against smart motorways is.
As one voice together we are louder and stronger than ever.

We can't keep jailing drivers for every individual incident, that wouldn't have happened if it wasn't on a smart motorway.

We need to bring the people that made us use the smart motorways to justice !  
but first more importantly we need to stop smart motorways!

 and your donations are making this happen


Update 11

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Sept. 23, 2020

Thank you all so much

The very generous donations keep coming in, thank you so much it all makes a big difference.
We were hoping to have a court date by now but obviously Covid has delayed this, there is still lots of work going on however and we just aim to be EVEN more prepared for when we do get a court date.

Myself and others that have lost loved ones are taking as many other legal avenues as possible, for example: corporate manslaughter charges, a disability discrimination complaint and more to be confirmed against Highways England, on top of the judicial review.

Thank you from all at SMK.

Regards

Claire

Update 10

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Aug. 3, 2020

Unfortunately more deaths & injuries are being report almost daily now

Its nearly every day now, articles online and in the papers about crashes, deaths, injuries, massive tail backs and the air ambulance all on smart motorways.

Still the government/highways england don't run education campaigns on what to do if you have a problem on a motorway from which the main safety feature has been removed. I'm still coming across people that dont know and have never heard the term smart motorway. 

Our viewing, listening and newspaper habits have changed massively, H.E need to run a massive over saturation program of social media, online newspapers, tv, radio to try and inform as many people as possible, at least until Smart Motorways Kill get to court to get these death traps banned for good.

Please help us keep the legal fight going, the news of misery these roads are causing is getting out there in the last 2 days there's been article as follows

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8584973/Student-slams-dangerous-called-smart-motorways-horror-crash-M1-killed-friend.html

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/student-reveals-dangers-smart-motorways-18702644

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/students-haunting-smart-motorway-morning-18704592

https://www.eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk/news/m1-smart-motorway-warning-1-6771636

and the following are also all doing articles this week:

Lancs Live

Trucker World

Surrey Live

MyLondon

Essex Live

Derbyshire Live

Belfast Live

Berkshire Live

Herts Live

Grimsby Live

Cambridgeshire Live

Yorkshire Live

Hull Live

Plymouth Live

Kent Live

Leicestershire Live

Staffordshire Live

Leeds Live

Nottinghamshire Live

Somerset Live

Lincolnshire Live

Stoke Live

Cheshire Live

North Wales Live

Thank you

Claire Mercer x

Update 9

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

June 11, 2020

Thank you for the support -ignore timer on page there isn't only a few days left

Thank you for all your support, I know the word has turned upside down in the last few month, but our judicial review is still going ahead! 

My family, Irwin Mitchell. the experts they have brought in and myself have all been continuing to work on this through lock down, obviously court cases have been delayed by cvd-19.

The full cost of the case will actually be nearer £100,000 but we didn't want to set what seemed an unachievable target, we are determined one way or another that this IS going ahead it would just be very helpful (!) if I didn't have to remortgage to achieve it!

Again please ignore the counter down time on the crowdfunder page, I don't know why it's there, its not correct and just resets when it reaches 0.

Update 8

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

March 16, 2020

Govenments response to smart motorways 'review' is just an offensive compromise

The government announced their response to their review of smart motorways on Thursday the 12th of March, we didn't expect much because again, its the government checking the government, but what was announced was frankly offensive!

The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, phoned me the night before the announcement to "run the 18 point plan passed" me. I think he also wanted to be able to say that we at SMK agreed with them, but he was left in no uncertain terms that we do not.  I picked out just two of the points and asked for a detailed break down of how they would be implemented and he repeatedly failed to give me an answer that made any sense.

Some of the 18 points rely more on technology, when we now know that the limited tech (radar/svd) that there is, doesn't work properly (admitted by H.E in documents to a coroner in the death of an 8 y/o boy)  but we're going to have more of that!
AND artificial intelligence camera's! i.e. cameras that aren't watched!!!   we have that already too.


"H.E is committed to closing lanes with in 10 seconds and rescuing you with in 10 minutes of an incident" How will close lanes that quickly with tech that doesn't work and patrols that aren't allowed to stop on a s.m? and rescuing within 10 minutes? my husband was killed in 6 minutes of stopping, Dev Naran was killed in 40 seconds!!!

H.E are going to use third party traffic apps to get updates!!!! why is the government department responsible for traffic using third party apps to get traffic information?

And a £5 million education campaign.  How do you educate a broken car into moving again?  

As you can see these measures are just plasters to cover cracks, they don't go anywhere near far enough and we will not accept them, SMK will be carrying on with the legal action, till we get the hard shoulder back in every single instance.

But we need your help, please donate and share this crowd fund.

Thank you

Update 7

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Feb. 18, 2020

Our websites and social media details

Please note:

we have a website at smartmotorwayskill.co.uk 

a facebook page at facebook.com/smartmotorwayskill 

and a twitter page at twitter.com/MotorwaysKill 

all of the above are updated and monitored very regularly and have ways to contact us directly.

Thanks

Claire

Update 6

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Feb. 11, 2020

We are really starting to get somewhere now! also ignore the "days left" counter

We can do this, we are really getting some traction now and the donations are really starting to add up, Thank you.
We do understand that not everyone is in a position to donate.

Again ignore the days left counter,  its a silly feature that I wish could be removed as now we have raised this much there is not a set number of days to do it in, we have as long as we need.

Update 5

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Jan. 23, 2020

Well! that blew up didn't it, Finally we are getting some real coverage

Firstly thank you again to everyone! every little bit helps. I've said from the start if everyone that hates smart motorways just gave £1 we'd more than cover the fees!

You may have seen but we've at last started to get some real coverage. There has been a lot of newspaper articles,  TV and radio news coverage and even Panorama and Inside out.
The Panorama Episode on Smart Motorways, which I will be in, airs this Monday at 8:30 on BBC 1

below are links to just a few of the recent interviews:

Sunday Telegraph - https://smartmotorwayskill.co.uk/crime-tsar-reveals-astonishment-as-highways-england-says-smart-motorways-are-safest/ 

Sunday Times - https://smartmotorwayskill.co.uk/are-britains-smart-motorways-death-traps/ 

Press Release from Irwin Mitchell - https://smartmotorwayskill.co.uk/press-release-from-irwin-mitchell/ 

Hallam FM Radio - https://smartmotorwayskill.co.uk/claire-mercer-of-smart-motorways-kills-on-hallam-fm/ 

Debate in Westminter - https://smartmotorwayskill.co.uk/debate-on-smart-motorways-in-westminster/ 

BBC Sheffield Radio - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07ybss5  (from 1:17 minutes)

Update 4

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Dec. 16, 2019

Sorry its been a bit quiet ....

Sorry its been a bit quiet on the legal case front, Irwin Mitchell are still working away in the back ground, it is all still going ahead.

Unfortunately it all just takes time. We need to make sure every potential loop hole is blocked, so this case cant be just thrown out on a technicality.

In the mean time our website (smartmotorwayskill.co.uk) and Facebook and twitter page have been busier than ever. We have contributors detailing their experiences and opinions, students doing surveys on smart motorways for their dissertations and more and more newspapers, tv program researchers and radio stations getting in touch. 


This is a subject that isn't going to go away.

As ever thank you for your support

Update 3

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Nov. 4, 2019

Review off S.M announced and I'm meeting the Transport Minster

Again please ignore the "number of days left" countdown timer, it just resets when it gets to 0. I've asked for it to be removed but it cant be for some reason. The count down only applied to the initial £2000, which we've already secured.

We are doing so much better than the nay sayers said we would do, but we do have a long way to go (but we also have a while to do it in :) )  nothing moves quickly in the legal world.
So please keep sharing and posting about our crowd funder, it all helps.

With the recently announced review of smart motorways by the government its bought a lot of attention back to this subject, nothings certain yet with all the moneys they've spent and therefore their jobs on the line any 'review' could just conclude "yeah their fine" it is the government checking the government after all.

Also I will be meeting the transport minster soon, so stay tuned for that!

Thank you

Claire

Update 2

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Oct. 9, 2019

We got there!! we got to the initial target

We have got to the initial target of £2000, which allows the solicitors to start the process. So its official now we have started the process for a judicial review. 


Ignore the count down timer that was for the initial target, we don't only have a few days to achieve the balance :)
Update 1

Claire Mercer from Smart Motorways Kill

Oct. 6, 2019

Thank you so much

Thank you so much for the donations, they really will make a difference. That's why a judicial review is the route we've chosen, because this is not about compensation, this is about getting smart motorways stopped. They have been sneaked in by the back door, no education given on what to do in if you have a problem and now Highways England are saying painting the refuge areas bright orange will sort everything!  if there nearest 'ERA' is a mile away it doesn't matter what colour it is, you cant see it.
We do need to get the the £2000 marker asap not just so the paperwork application can be started, but also to prove the strength of feeling is there to take this case the whole way.

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