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Liz Truss signals she will ban smart highways when she becomes next prime minister after string of deaths

Could speed limits on motorways be abolished? Liz Truss is ready to explore the idea and has signaled she will ban smart roads when she becomes Britain’s next Prime Minister

  • The Secretary of State also said her government will review smart road programs
  • In January, Grant Shapps ordered 100 miles of smart highways to be paused
  • Roads with no hard shoulder are three times deadlier if you get stranded on them
  • In the four years to 2019, there were 53 fatalities on smart highways
  • Liz Truss has previously said she would look into increasing freeway restrictions

Liz Truss pledged to look into whether motorway speed limits should be abolished when she becomes prime minister.

The Foreign Secretary said she was ready to explore the radical idea that could convert Britain’s autobahns into a German autobahn system with no speed limits.

She also said her government would review smart road plans and signaled it would ban the controversial motorways in response to a question at the recent Tory leadership battles at Wembley Arena in London.

Miss Truss was asked by a Conservative member whether, if she became Prime Minister, she would “change the speed limit from mandatory to advisory” and “restore hard shoulders”.

She replied: “With speed limits, we have to be willing to look at that […]. I can’t give you an exact answer.’

Miss Truss has previously touted speed limit increases and announced at a side event at the Conservative Party Convention in September 2018 that she would be considering raising the freeway limit to 80mph.

Liz Truss last night promised to look into whether motorway speed limits should be abolished when she becomes prime minister

Liz Truss last night promised to look into whether motorway speed limits should be abolished when she becomes prime minister

She said her government would be reviewing smart street plans in response to a question at the Tory leadership's recent hustings at Wembley Arena in London

She said her government would be reviewing smart street plans in response to a question at the Tory leadership’s recent hustings at Wembley Arena in London

Mr Sunak has already pledged to ban new smart highways and ensure all existing ones are enhanced with additional pull-through zones and technology to identify stopped vehicles. Yesterday he said that

Mr Sunak has already pledged to ban new smart highways and ensure all existing ones are enhanced with additional pull-through zones and technology to identify stopped vehicles. “We shouldn’t rule anything out,” he said yesterday when asked about energy rationing

The M3 intelligent motorway near Longcross in Surrey. The deployment of smart highways is being put on hold due to safety concerns

The M3 intelligent motorway near Longcross in Surrey. The deployment of smart highways is being put on hold due to safety concerns

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The smart motorway network so far with the areas that will be completed despite the break

The smart motorway network so far with the areas that will be completed despite the break

In January, following a campaign by the Daily Mail, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ordered around 100 miles of smart highway projects to be paused – but many more are still under construction.

And that’s despite a May report revealing roads without hard shoulders are three times deadlier to break than those that keep the safety lane.

Frost in talks to become MP

Lord Frost is in talks with local Conservative associations about running for MP.

The former Brexit minister revealed he spent several months discussing where in the country he could run as a candidate for parliament.

In an interview with The House magazine, he suggested that if he were appointed to the next Prime Minister’s cabinet, he would try to leave the Lords for the Commons. “I don’t think our system works very well over a long period of time without a senior minister in the elected House,” he said. “It’s basic fairness… that’s how the Constitution works.”

But he added that he’s still deciding on the move. Lord Frost, who backs Liz Truss in the Tory leadership contest, led Britain’s post-Brexit negotiations with the EU but then resigned as minister last December over issues including “enforced” Covid restrictions.

Analysis of National Highways also showed that there were 53 fatalities on smart highways in the four years to 2019, with at least 18 blamed to some degree on the roads.

At last night’s hustle and bustle, Miss Truss agreed that the push to build the motorways needed to be reviewed. She said: “I absolutely think we need to check them out as soon as possible and stop them if they don’t work. I think the smart highway experiment didn’t work.”

She also agreed to consider the proposal that speed limits on motorways should be abolished. Removing the 70-mile limit would bring the autobahns in line with certain sections of Germany’s autobahns, where only recommended speeds apply.

However, drivers face increased liability if an accident occurs while driving at high speeds.

In 2018, The Telegraph said Miss Truss told Conservative members when she was Chief Secretary to the Treasury: “I also want us to look again at things like our speed limits on the motorway.

“We’ve often toyed with the idea of ​​bumping it up to 80mph, why don’t we look at that again?”

Miss Truss ruled out energy rationing to deal with the cost of living crisis and stated that there would be no new taxes under her premiership.

Mr Sunak has already pledged to ban new smart highways and ensure all existing ones are enhanced with additional pull-through zones and technology to identify stopped vehicles. “We shouldn’t rule anything out,” he said yesterday when asked about energy rationing.

Michael Gove paid tribute to Boris Johnson last night – just weeks after he was sacked by him and branded a snake by No 10. At the Wembley Hustings, he said the country must never forget the outgoing Prime Minister’s achievements.

“He was the man who brought about Brexit. He was the man who introduced the world’s fastest vaccine. He was the man who stood resolutely with Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the brave people of Ukraine when others faltered and shirked the fight,” the former cabinet minister told party members.

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Emma Colton

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