A top solicitor has said the managed motorway system on the M62 is still causing ‘mass confusion and motorway paranoia’ a year after it opened.

Celebrity traffic lawyer Nick ‘Mr Loophole’ Freeman spoke out when the £150m system, which opened up the hard shoulder to help ease traffic problems on the M62, began operating last autumn saying motorists did not know the cameras were operating at all times.

Illuminated signs on overhead gantries give instructions to motorists to let them know about problems ahead, whether a lane is closed and whether speed restrictions are in place.

Speed cameras are there to catch motorists breaking the speed limit.

And now Mr Freeman says despite the system being in place for a year, motorists were still confused about how it works – and the Highways Agency needed to do more.

Solicitor Nick Freeman: "there is mass confusion"
Solicitor Nick Freeman: "there is mass confusion"
 

He said: “The idea of these motorways is to help journey time and ease congestion but, in fact, there is mass confusion. It’s supposed to create a smooth flow but it causes motorway paranoia.

“People are aware there’s a managed motorway system but they are very confused as to how it operates.
“Often there’s a 40mph limit on the gantry and there is nothing in the road to justify it – motorists are suspicious of the information.

“They want to know if the cameras are working when there is no indication on the overhead gantries. The cameras are grey and discreet so there is no deterrent effect. Why not have cameras that are visible.

“People are also confused by the indication given on the gantries. What happens when you’re just about to pass a gantry that says 60mph and it changes to 40mph? You slam your brakes on.

 

“People are asking what the speed limit is and what are they supposed to do when the speed limit changes. Can they go through the camera at 60mph? They don’t want to get a ticket but it’s not safe to slam brakes on.

“The cameras are working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and there is a time lapse for drivers who go through as the speed limit changes.

“From a legal perspective it’s very important adequate guidance is given to motorists and it’s important the motorists know what they are supposed to be doing.

“The Highways Agency needs to make it very clear to all motorists that the cameras are working round the clock.”

A Highways Agency spokesperson said: “The speed enforcement system on the M62 is primarily used for enforcing variable speeds, but has the capacity to enforce national speed limit, at all times, including when the signs are blank. It is at the discretion of West Yorkshire Police, who act on behalf of West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership, to determine the threshold at which enforcement is carried out.

“The cameras have always had this capability and we have not recently changed anything to knowingly deceive drivers.

“Drivers are reminded that the onus is on them to follow motorway regulations and to obey the speed limits at all times.”