Widow warns of dangers of Smart Motorways after her husband became one of FIVE people killed on the same 16-mile stretch of the M1

Widow warns of dangers of Smart Motorways after her husband became one of FIVE people killed on the same 16-mile stretch of the M1

  • Jason Mercer, 44, was standing on the hard shoulder when he was hit and killed 
  • The Smart motorway was supposed to open the hard shoulder after an accident 
  • However, the technology failed and Jason was killed instantly by a 18-tonne HGV 

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A heartbroken widow has warned of the dangers of Smart motorways after her husband became the fifth person killed in the same part of the M1. 

Jason Mercer, 44, was killed just 15 minutes after saying goodbye to his wife Claire, 43, when an 18-tonne HGV smashed into him. 

He was on what was supposed to be the hard shoulder but was actually an open lane on a Smart motorway. 

Jason was the fifth person killed on the same 16 mile stretch of the M1 in just 10 months, while thousands of other people have been left stranded on the side of the road. 

Jason Mercer, 44, was killed just 15 minutes after saying goodbye to his wife Claire, 43, when a HGV ploughed into him

A 39-year-old man was arrested at the scene but was later released on bail and Jason’s widow Claire is now suing Highways England over his death.  

Claire, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, told the Sun: ‘Jason left me at 8am and he was dead by 8.15am. 

‘The fact the scheme is extending is just absolutely terrifying.’  

While driving on the M1 between junctions 34 and 35 near Sheffield, Jason was involved in a minor collision with van driver Alexandru Murgeanu, 22.

They both pulled over and, because there was no hard shoulder, parked against the crash barrier.

Getting out of their cars, they were swapping insurance details when a lorry hurtled towards them.

Claire said: ‘The lorry hit the van and that hit both of them. Both he and Alexandru were killed instantly.

Widow warns of dangers of Smart Motorways after her husband became one of FIVE people killed on the same 16-mile stretch of the M1 Widow warns of dangers of Smart Motorways after her husband became one of FIVE people killed on the same 16-mile stretch of the M1

Jason was killed after pulling onto the hard shoulder. Just last week, Dev Naran, eight, from Leicester, was killed when his grandfather’s stationary car, on a hard shoulder, was hit by a lorry

‘It was the only blessing. I was told they wouldn’t have known anything about it.’

Roads like the one Jason died on are being unveiled all over the country, with Smart motorways using traffic management systems to monitor and control roads. 

More than 400 miles of Smart motorways are already in place across the UK and they control traffic through a variety of ways. 

These include speed limit control and getting rid of the hard shoulder – though it can be reinstated if needed. 

When an accident occurs, the technology is supposed to flash a large red X, warning vehicles of the breakdown. 

Widow warns of dangers of Smart Motorways after her husband became one of FIVE people killed on the same 16-mile stretch of the M1

Mrs Mercer is taking on Highways England, threatening legal action and battling to find out the truth about smart motorways, which road safety campaigners argue have turned drivers into ‘sitting ducks’ (stock image)

Widow warns of dangers of Smart Motorways after her husband became one of FIVE people killed on the same 16-mile stretch of the M1

Alexandru Mergeanu, 22, was also killed in the northbound M1 accident.

He was exchanging insurance information with Jason when they were hit

However, this can fail, leading to drivers of broken down vehicles being placed in danger.  

Just last week, Dev Naran, eight, from Leicester, was killed when his grandfather’s stationary car, on a hard shoulder, was struck by a lorry. 

Following his tragic death, a coroner warned that ‘lives are at risk’.   

The Smart motorways have been branded ‘death traps’ by campaigners, families of the dead and even MPs. 

New figures show that motorway deaths have risen by eight per cent since 2017, while more than half of drivers want to scrap Smart motorways altogether because of safety worries. 

However, despite these concerns Smart motorways could be doubles by 2025.  

On the same stretch of motorway where Jason died, Derek Jacobs, 83, was killed in March after stopping his vehicle between junctions 30 and 31 in Derbyshire.

A 78-year-old man also involved in the collision died in hospital two months later.

And months before that a 62-year-old woman was killed on the road after leaving a broken-down car.

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