Nicholas Lyes, the RAC head of roads policy, said: “Our research reveals the enormous strength of feeling among drivers of all ages about the safety of all lane running smart motorways.”
He added: “It seems the only thing that will truly satisfy most drivers is the reinstatement of the hard shoulder.
“The Government is therefore faced with a difficult choice between continuing to rollout unpopular all lane running motorways very much against drivers’ wishes or reinstating the hard shoulder, effectively creating three-lane controlled motorways which would have the benefit of improved safety features but with less overall capacity.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Data show that fatalities are less likely on smart motorways than on conventional ones, but we know some drivers can feel less safe on them.
“This is why, alongside a raft of other measures, every all lane running motorway will open with technology to spot stopped vehicles. We’re also speeding up the rollout of this technology on previously built stretches of these roads, with it due to be in place by Sept 2022.
“To help give drivers more confidence, this week we updated the Highway Code to provide further guidance on using smart motorways, including information on where to stop in an emergency and the importance of not driving in a lane closed by a red X.”