Proposed changes to the Highway Code, which include guidance on how smart motorways operate, have been criticised by the widow of a man killed by an HGV on the M1.

A consultation into the changes by Highways England was launched following the publication of an 18-point action plan last year to make the controversial traffic measure safer.

Changes in the Highway Code include additional guidance on the availability, appearance and use of emergency areas; the use of variable speed limits and red ‘X’ signs and the use of hard shoulders as live traffic lanes.

In 2020, HGV driver Prezemyslaw Szuba was jailed for 10 months after he collided with two men on the M1 who had pulled over onto a live hard shoulder following a minor collision.

Claire Mercer, wife of Jason Mercer who died in the collision on a stretch of smart motorway in June 2019, said it would not have happened if all-lanes running hadn’t been introduced.

She described last year's review as “a complete and utter toothless waste of an exercise”.

Read more

And responding to the proposed changes in the Highways Code, she said: “All they do is turn it around on the driver all the time.

“How do you educate a broken down car into moving to the next safe place?”

lMercer is now campaigning to prosecute Highways England over the death of her husband.

Neil Hudgell, her solicitor, said: “Our client feels strongly that there is a case to answer for the offence of corporate manslaughter.

“The fact is that Highways England has been aware of the obvious risk of removing hard shoulders on motorways yet has continued to expand the network.

“It has been demonstrated by statistics that the risks presented by stationary vehicles have increased by the use of smart motorways.

“All of these facts ought to have been known before the death of Jason."