The rollout of smart motorways across the UK has been halted for five years.

During this time, road safety data will be collected.

However, the current stretches of smart motorways will be upgraded.

For example, some £900m has been committed to helping make them as safe as possible.

In addition, an extra £390 million will be used to install extra emergency areas.

Data shows smart motorways are comparatively the safest roads in the country in terms of fatality rates.

However, the Government believes that gathering the extra data will make them even safer for the future.

The news comes in the wake of a report from the Transport Committee.

The report concluded that hard shoulders do not always provide a safe stopping place.

In other words, they could still put drivers and passengers at risk of death and/or serious injury.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the news.

“Our initial data shows that smart motorways are among the safest roads in the UK.

However, it’s crucial that we go further to ensure people feel safer using them.”

Meanwhile, RHA’s Rod McKenzie agreed with the decision and the findings of the report.

“The RHA supports smart motorways.

“They reduce congestion and pollution by keeping traffic moving.

“However, the advantages of all-lane running must never outweigh safety. 

“It’s vital that safety comes first so this pause is welcome. 

“Concluding, McKenzie said better education about the use of smart motorways was vital for all road users.

Elsewhere, Rebecca Needham, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), welcomed the news.

“We are pleased to see that the DfT has committed to a retrofit a further 150 emergency refuge areas to existing schemes.”