Smart motorways could be rendered obsolete within a decade as they are not suitable for electric cars, it was claimed yesterday.
AA boss Edmund King warned the routes would be even more dangerous because it would not be possible to tow the stranded vehicles to safety.
He said driverless cars could also run into problems on smart motorways, where the hard shoulder is used as a regular traffic lane to ease congestion.
Developers recommend if a motorist falls asleep in an autonomous vehicle then it should pull over in a safe place – but this may prove impossible with no hard shoulder.
Mr King said: ‘In their current guise, smart motorways could be obsolete within ten years due to the lack of emergency refuge areas.
Che Donald, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, said even a tyre puncture could be a life-or-death emergency.
He said: ‘It is inherently dangerous, our members are responding to these breakdowns. We know Highways England has a duty to assist, but I think their primary focus is more about the flow of traffic than the safety of people using those roads.’
AA boss Edmund King underlined the breakdown advice, adding: ‘If you can’t get out, keep your seatbelt on, put your hazards on and dial 999. That’s how serious it is.’ It came hours after John Apter, boss of the federation which represents rank and file officers, warned the roads were ‘death traps’. A total of 38 people have been killed in five years.
Mr King also said smart motorways – where the hard shoulder is used as a regular traffic lane to ease congestion – could be obsolete within a decade as they are not suitable for electric cars. He warned: ‘You can’t flat tow some electric vehicles more than 800 metres, some you can’t flat tow at all. So the problem is they will take longer to get off the motorways.’
‘You can’t flat tow some electric vehicles more than 800 metres, some you can’t flat tow at all.
‘So the problem is they will take longer to get off the motorways.’ He spoke out as transport chiefs unveiled proposals to turn parts of the M4 and M5 into nearly 30 miles of smart motorways.
Yesterday John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, warned that smart motorways were ‘death traps’.