• Safer Highways

HE and Transport Secretary disagree on red lights for recovery vehicles


It’s being reported Highways England is objecting to calls for roadside recovery vehicles to use red flashing lights on their vehicles.


The Telegraph says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps privately backs allowing breakdown vehicles to use red lights, rather than the conventional orange ones, as safety measure for recovery staff.


The report says MPs and campaigners think they could be of significant value on new smart motorways where the hard shoulder has been scrapped. At the moment, recovery operators are only permitted to fit their vehicles with and use amber warning beacons.


In June last year, Mr Shapps ordered a departmental consultation into whether they could start to use red lights amid calls that it would offer workers greater protection. But the Telegraph says it’s seen a letter dated 11 March from Shapps told former Tory minister, Sir Mike Penning that states while a consultation found “general support from the recovery industry for extending the use of red flashing lights… Highways England expressed concern that use of red flashing lights on roadside recovery vehicles could lead to a dilution of their effectiveness and hence increased risk to HE Traffic Officers in their role while controlling live flows.”


He added: “The Police would only support a change where a positive road safety benefit could be demonstrated.”


Mr Shapps said that the Government’s review had found “little evidence that red flashing lamps would help with conspicuity of roadside operators and their vehicles” and so recommended further trials.


(Picture credit – RAC)

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