Hard shoulder driving cuts crashes

Official figures have shown that the practice of hard-shoulder running (HSR) has cut accident rates and journey times.

Roads minister Mike Penning said the HSR scheme more than halved accidents on the 10.5-mile stretch of the M42 (from junction 3A to junction 7), to the east of Birmingham since its introduction in 2006.

HSR, which allows motorists to drive on the hard shoulder of motorways during peak hours, also improved journey times between M40 junction 16, near Lapworth and M6 junction 5, near Birmingham, since its launch.

Mr Penning released the statistics during the official opening of the latest HSR scheme on a 6.7-mile stretch of the M6 in the West Midlands.

The HSR scheme is being combined with a new project, which will see slip roads at the M6's junction 10 near Birmingham being converted into full-time running lanes in both directions to ease congestion for the first time in the UK.

Mr Penning said: "The Government is committed to delivering transport projects which improve journeys and help economic growth so I am pleased to open England's newest HSR scheme.

"This will provide much needed additional capacity - easing congestion and making journey times more reliable for road users, including hauliers and commuters - on this vital national transport spine."

The M42 latest statistics follow earlier figures which showed that over a 12-month period journey time reliability improved by 22% on the route and emissions were reduced by up to 10% due to traffic flowing more smoothly.

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