Widow to launch legal challenge over all lane running

22/01/2020
Chris Ames

The widow of a driver killed on a smart motorway has instructed lawyers to begin work on a legal challenge calling for them to be scrapped.

Jason Mercer was one of two men killed after being knocked down by a HGV on all lane running (ALR) stretch of the M1 in South Yorkshire.

Shortly before the fatal incident, Mr Mercer and Alexandru Murgreanu had been involved in a minor collision and pulled over ‘as far as they could’ in the absence of a hard shoulder to exchange details.

His wife Claire Mercer, has now instructed solicitors Irwin Mitchell to investigate bringing a legal case against Highways England calling for the use of smart motorways including ALR schemes to be halted.

Irwin Mitchell said it is preparing detailed evidence and aims to officially commence the legal process in the coming weeks.

Solicitor Helen Smith said: ‘Through our initial investigations and the increasing amount of families which have been torn apart because of fatalities on smart motorways, it is clear that a full and urgent review of their use needs to be completed.

‘We are determined to do everything we can to support Claire and other families who have been affected by the use of smart motorways. We hope that people are able to back her campaign as she looks to take this legal action forward.’

Ms Mercer said: ‘Because this section of motorway is ALR there was no hard shoulder and they were not to know the nearest emergency refuge area was out of sight, a mile away.

‘The technology provided in this stretch of motorway and indeed in over 80% of all smart motorways is not capable of detecting when only a few cars stop in live lanes, so the lane wasn't closed until six minutes after Jason and Alexandru had been knocked down.'

Ms Mercer has launched a crowdfunding appeal as part of her campaign and is hoping to raise £20,000 to support the legal challenge.

She added: ‘Jason was an amazing, multi-faceted man who stood out in a crowd. He believed in equality and he fought to defend his and other rights.

‘The only thing that helps us while we try to come to terms with this loss, is trying to stop the same happening to others.’

In a parliamentary debate on Wednesday, Ms Mercer's MP, Sarah Champion, called for existing schemes to revert to traditional motorways, 'until the obvious and intrinsic risks of removing the hard shoulder are addressed'.

She said: ‘I cannot bring Jason Mercer back to Claire. But it is in the minister’s gift to stop more deaths.’

Highways jobs

Technician - Structures

Milton Keynes Council
£24,799 - £28,785
We’re looking for talented individuals to be part of our expanding team working on everything from local schemes to... Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Assistant Director – Planning, Transport & Public Protection

Thurrock Borough Council
Up to £104,000 per annum
Team Thurrock Essex
Recruiter: Thurrock Borough Council

Waste Prevention Manager

Camden London Borough Council
£45,504 - £52,786
We have an exciting opportunity available for a manager with an expert knowledge of waste prevention and a collaborative approach, to... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Senior Engineer - Structures

Milton Keynes Council
£44,632 - £49,298
Milton Keynes is a place of opportunity. Milton Keynes
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Head of Infrastructure & Transport

South Tyneside Council
up to £85K
This is a fantastic opportunity for an outstanding leader to join a high performing Council. South Tyneside, Tyne and Wear
Recruiter: South Tyneside Council

Team Leader - Highways

Milton Keynes Council
£50,941 - £54,228
Milton Keynes is a place of opportunity. Milton Keynes
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Highways Traffic Development Engineer

Milton Keynes Council
£34,788 - £38,813
Milton Keynes is a place of opportunity. Milton Keynes
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Assistant Contracts Engineer

Milton Keynes Council
£34,788 - £38,813
We are looking for an Assistants Contracts Engineer to be a key senior member of our Contracts Team managing... Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Team Leader - Streetworks

Milton Keynes Council
£39,782 - £43,662
We are looking for a Team Leader to lead our Streetworks Team. Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Traffic Project Officer

City of York Council
£26,875 to £29,783 per annum
City of York Council have a great opportunity for a Projects Officer to join our busy Traffic Team. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Traffic Management Leader

City of York Council
£35,500 to £40,710 per annum
City of York Council have an exciting opportunity for an experienced transport professional to lead our Traffic Team. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Senior Technician (Structures)

Milton Keynes Council
£29,636 - £33,779
With several future projects coming up this is an exciting time for an experienced Senior Technician to join our team.  Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Senior Engineer - Development Management

Milton Keynes Council
£44,632 - £49,298
We are looking for a Senior Engineer to work within our Development Management Team. Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Principal Transport Officer (Policy)

St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council
£38,813 To £40,760 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity for an energetic and motivated individual to drive forward transport policy to... St Helens, Merseyside
Recruiter: St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council

Road Safety Officer (Education and engagement)

Milton Keynes Council
£29,636 - £33,799
We are looking a Road Safety Officer to deliver our education and engagement programme across Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Road Safety Engineer

Milton Keynes Council
£34,788 - £38,813
We are looking for an experience Road Safety professional to join our team to process and analyse collision and casualty data and to... Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Development Management Engineer

Warwickshire County Council
£37,849 - £39,782 per annum
The successful applicant for this post will be capable of taking the lead on work within... Warwick, Warwickshire
Recruiter: Warwickshire County Council

Project Officers

Buckinghamshire Council
£29121 - £38881 per annum
OverviewCareer graded posts 5-7£29,121 - £38,881 per annumThis is your chance to make a lasting impact on our county. From developing the connected tr England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recruiter: Buckinghamshire Council

Permit Coordinator

Milton Keynes Council
£29,636 - £33,799
We are looking for a Permit Coordinator to work within our Streetworks Team. Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Highways Liaison Officer

Milton Keynes Council
£29,636 - £33,799
We are looking for a Highways Liaison Officer to join our Communications and Liaison Team. Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

 

ADEPT: Past and present

Highways England: Present and future

Mott MacDonald: Urban realm of the future

View the latest issue

Latest Video