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Exclusive | Frightening dash footage shows traffic officer put at risk due to gantry signage failure



Outrage as gantry sign puts traffic officer at risk attempting to rescue stricken motorist


Frightening dash cam footage sent to Insight shows how a traffic officer was put at risk today on the M6.


The incident, sent to us anonymously, illustrates the risks motorists face when breaking down on the network.


The incident, at MP 221/7 between Junctions 11 and 12 on the Northbound carriageway of the M6 just a few miles south of Stratford services, shows two gantry signs correctly indicating that lane one is closed and that motorists should move into a lane to the right, only for a third, less than a few hundred metres from the incident to appear to be blank, thus indicating that lane one is now clear.





Captured on dashboard camera by a motorist who happens to be a member of our sector the footage indicates the increased reliance we have upon both humans in RCC's and technology on the carriageway as, but for the grace of god, no motorist moved back into L1, which potentially could have resulted in a fatality.


As the video moves beyond the third (blank) gantry we see a traffic officer vehicle (with the driver stepping out of his door into a live lane) attending to a vehicle which has pulled to the left of the road.


Speaking about the incident, the anonymous source said,


"2 gantry signs showing them to get out of the lane and the third is off then the National Highways vehicle stopped in lane 1 as the inspector exits the vehicle.


"I called National Highways immediately and said get the gantry sign on to protect them


"Unbelievable".



National Highways have subsequently clarified that the sign had suffered a mechanical failure.


Upon investigation it has also been uncovered that gantry signs on the southbound carriageway had also failed at a similar time.



This is not the first time that the technical system behind Smart Motorways 'Dynac" has failed and indeed earlier this year the whole Smart Motorway network failed.


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Back in 2021 the Telegraph also reported that a whistleblower at National Highways has claimed staff operating England's smart motorways are 'petrified' of road users being killed following a string of computer crashes.


Responding to the admission of a mechanical failure National Highways Regional Director in the Midlands, Andy Jinks said: “Safety is always our top priority and the gantry sign has been repaired. We have spoken with the traffic officer concerned who has told us they felt safe and who, like their colleagues, is trained to handle situations on all types of road, including those without signs or signals." 


Just two weeks ago National Highways said it remained "committed to continuing to improve safety" in response to a coroner's report into a "smart motorway" death.




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2 Comments


simon.taylor
Jul 04, 2023

The gantry has failed; it doesn't indicate that the lane has re-opened. There needs to be more education if even "professionals" writing these articles don't understand modern road signs and how smart motorways work. Education has been poor at a national level, so no need to be offended!

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s_bird1
Jul 03, 2023

A very unbalanced article unworthy of your usual copy. National Highways Traffic Officers are highly trained to work on the fast roads network without signal protection. Not all motorways or arterial A routes have technology such as overhead signals or roadside signs. Traffic officers are capable and trained to work in all such environments.

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