Highways England has launched a new course to help roadside recovery services operate safely on smart motorways.
The one-day awareness course aims to provide roadside recovery professionals with the training and skills necessary to formulate a safe, practical working plan when attending road traffic collisions and breakdowns.
Developed with the Network Training Partnership, the course is described as the first to offer ‘comprehensive smart motorway training for recovery operatives’ in the UK.
Colin Stevenson, strategic partnerships manager at Highways England, said: “The course has been developed specifically for roadside rescue and recovery drivers who use the motorway network and has been designed to aid practical, relevant training.
“Those completing the course will have a better understanding of the different types of smart motorways and how to formulate a recovery plan incorporating safe working practices when dealing with incidents on smart motorways.”
First introduced in 2014, smart motorways use variable speed limits to manage traffic and tackle stop-start congestion.
The hard shoulder is turned into an ‘active lane’, with gantry signs displaying a red X indicating if a lane is closed – usually as a result of a vehicle breakdown or in the event of a collision.
Vehicle recovery operators are never expected to recover a vehicle in am active lane, while Highways England can close lanes and set speed limits to support recovery operators.
Gary Tucker, managing director of the Network Training Partnership – which supports training in the automotive, logistics and recovery industries – said: “It is imperative that individuals attend this training to improve knowledge and safety of both the breakdown and recovery industry and the general public.”
Last month, The Sunday Telegraph reported that plans to roll-out smart motorways across the country had been dealt a ‘severe blow’ – following four deaths on an adapted section of the M1 in less than a year.
In response, Highways England launched a staunch defence, saying it would never carry out a major improvement scheme without being confident it would maintain or enhance safety.