MPs have been told that the removal of motorway hard shoulders on the M25 has led to as many as 600 “near misses at high speed”.
The Daily Mail says that, for the first time, Highways England has admitted it is worried about the danger to motorists, despite rejecting police opposition to the trial, with Mike Wilson, Highways England’s chief operations officer, telling MPs, ‘The public are travelling through the Red Xs and coming across traffic officers. That is where the near miss comes from.’
The report defines near misses and ones in which cars have almost collided with police or members of the public in a lane displaying a Red X. They are either caught on CCTV, or reported by police or motorists.
Official figures show that on parts of the motorway, 12 vehicles are driving through Red X signs into closed lanes every minute at the busiest times. Mr Wilson told the transport select committee that one in 12 drivers flout the signs. Drivers are fined if they are caught in Red X lanes, but a 2014 survey for the Highways Agency found a third of road users did not know what the signs meant.