Highways England Release Vehicle Checks Follow Up as part of “Go Left” campaign.

Following the release last weeks ‘Go Left’ campaign, Highways England have released a second video on social media urging motorists to take a moment to check their vehicles to minimise the risk of a breakdown.

Featuring the characters from the original tv advert and part of the £5million campaign to educate the road user on high-speed roads behaviours, the 20 second clip is shot in the style of a back stage outtake and features the same light hearted approach as the original advert which was released last week.

The campaign was in response to growing public outcry, not least led by the Times newspaper and its sister publication the Sunday Times, which waged war on both the operating company who manage the strategic road network and its former Chief Executive, Jim O’Sullivan over the course of the last 18 months following a panorama investigation of the lack of education as a cause of deaths on smart motorways.

What followed was a suspension of works on Smart Motorways until the results of what the Government - Owned company entitled a ‘stocktake’, whose results were published on the 12th March 2020.

Amongst those recommendations was an acute need for a public awareness campaign as to how to drive and indeed what to do if you should break down on a smart motorway.

However, despite its catchy nature, featuring a series of actors and set to the tune of the Pet Shop Boys hit ‘Go West’, the campaign has attracted numerous critics due to the fact many cite it as trivialising the seriousness of what have been an alarming spate of deaths.

Claire Mercer, whose husband was killed on a smart section of the M1, said she thought it was a "spoof" at first..

Mrs Mercer's husband Jason and another driver, Alexandru Murgeanu, were killed instantly when a lorry ploughed into them near junction 34 in South Yorkshire in June 2019.

Writing on Facebook, the 44-year-old, from Rotherham, said: "I thought it was a spoof. They had two people dressed as squashed flies on the windscreen - did they not see the analogy?

“What happened to our loved ones, without going into the details, they weren't in their vehicles when they were hit.

“ "This is a silly, bad joke about a serious and hurtful subject," she added.

Mike Wilson, Highways England chief highway engineer offered his "deepest sympathies" to those involved.

"We are determined to do all we can to make our roads as safe as possible.

"Although the tone of the campaign is light-hearted, it is designed to deliver life-saving information in an accessible and memorable way and to keep people safe," he added.

The Commons Transport Select Committee is investigating smart motorway safety.

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