The AA has told that speeding fines from smart motorways should be ring-fenced and used to improve safety on the controversial routes.

The motoring organisation has backed calls for urgent safety improvements on smart motorways.

It argues there are not enough refuge areas for motorists on stretches where all-lane running is in use, and wants fines raised on these routes to be used to fund the building of more refuge areas.

It also wants refuge areas to be doubled in length to 200m.

The AA is arguing that the revenue from a huge rise in speeding fines on smart motorways could be used to fund these safety improvements. It points to a survey by the BBC that shows fines on smart motorways rose 25-fold between 2010 and 2011 and
2014 and 2015.

The survey, published this week, asked 12 police forces in England that monitor major stretches of smart motorway, including parts of the M1, M25, M4, M42 and M6, for the total number of speeding tickets and fines collected.

The research found that 52,516 fixed penalties were issued on 11 smart sections, including on stretches of the M1, M25 and M6 in 2015. This compares to 2,023 fines on the same stretches in 2010-2011, before they were upgraded to smart motorways.

On one section of the M1 in Nottinghamshire, police issued 8,489 tickets, amounting to £425,000 of fines, in 2015.

AA president Edmund King told “We are calling for twice as many refuge areas which are twice as long. This extra boost to the government coffers from the rising amount in fines on these routes should be used to pay for that work and to fund awareness campaigns to help the public drive more safely on these roads.”

The Transport Committee raised serious concerns about the safety of all-lane running on smart motorways in June this year, arguing strongly for the DfT not to proceed with the smart motorway programme “on the basis of cost savings while major safety concerns continue to exist”.

The committee subsequently attacked the government's response to its report.

Image: Press Association