Rise in M6 accidents and longer road closures sees MP demand answers

BARROW and Furness MP John Woodcock has called for explanations as to why the number of serious accidents and lengthy road closures on the M6 has risen in the past three years.

Figures obtained by Mr Woodcock through a parliamentary question show that the number of accidents which led to a closure of the motorway in Cumbria and Lancashire rose from 14 in 2010 to 25 in 2013.

The total time that the M6 was closed in at least one direction rose by more than 550 per cent from 24 hours in 2010 to over 133 hours in 2013, said Mr Woodcock.

The figures also showed that the average time taken by Highways Agency and the police to re-open the motorway after an accident rose from 103 minutes in 2010 to 321 minutes in 2013.

Mr Woodcock said: “The M6 is central to the region’s transport network, so safety on the road and reliability for its users is absolutely essential – these worrying figures show big steps backwards in both those respects.

"Ministers made a lot of noise about getting motorways re-opened more quickly after accidents, yet in the north west at least, it seems to be taking longer and longer, increasing delays and damaging the local economy.

“The lack of reliability on the M6 will also be having an impact on our local emergency services and needs to be considered when proposals are made to centralise services – last year vascular services were moved from Lancaster to Preston, relying on the motorway being open to transport very ill patients from south Cumbria.”

John Woodcock has written to the secretary of state for transport to ask for explanations for the change in the figures and for an action plan to reverse the trend.

He has also written to Richard Rhodes, the Police and Crime commissioner for Cumbria, to seek details of how local police are working with the Highways Agency to reduce motorway closure times.

The information above is broken down on a year-by-year basis as follows:

2009: 18 road traffic collisions, total impact duration 44 hours 50 minutes

2010: 14 road traffic collisions, total impact duration 24 hours 9 minutes

2011: 17 road traffic collisions, total impact duration 69 hours 27 minutes

2012: 16 road traffic collisions, total impact duration 72 hours 8 minutes

2013: 25 road traffic collisions, total impact duration 133 hours 36 minutes.

Comments (8)

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7:46am Wed 15 Jan 14

hogheaven says...

I think the longer delays came about with the introduction of the Highways agency,They seem to be a bit overzealous when it comes to health and safety.If there is non injury accident the motorway should have a rolling road block ,and cleared as soon as possible.Decide who was at fault later. let the insurance companies decide. The police now seem to want to take "scene of crime pics" at almost every accident which involves injury, all well and good , but do you have to close a motorway for so long?Surely it does not take 24 hours to do it as as happened in the past. Diverting motorway traffic onto adjacent A roads further increases chances for more accidents. A helicopter could take pics whilst hovering overhead and studied later,health and safety yes but lets use some commonsense.
I think the longer delays came about with the introduction of the Highways agency,They seem to be a bit overzealous when it comes to health and safety.If there is non injury accident the motorway should have a rolling road block ,and cleared as soon as possible.Decide who was at fault later. let the insurance companies decide. The police now seem to want to take "scene of crime pics" at almost every accident which involves injury, all well and good , but do you have to close a motorway for so long?Surely it does not take 24 hours to do it as as happened in the past. Diverting motorway traffic onto adjacent A roads further increases chances for more accidents. A helicopter could take pics whilst hovering overhead and studied later,health and safety yes but lets use some commonsense. hogheaven
  • Score: -5

11:54am Wed 15 Jan 14

archiebored says...

non injury rtc;s are cleared to the hard shoulder and the road reopened straight away. closures are normally for fatalaties, life changing injuries ,and for trapped people to be cut free and air ambulance landings. if a person sat in a slightly damaged car starts claiming whiplash injuries that car cannot be moved either. until the patient is medicaly assesed. the real reason i suspect that closures take longer than 2010 is that is when the govt started decimating the emergency services and HA staff! so response times are longer and not all resources are available when required.
non injury rtc;s are cleared to the hard shoulder and the road reopened straight away. closures are normally for fatalaties, life changing injuries ,and for trapped people to be cut free and air ambulance landings. if a person sat in a slightly damaged car starts claiming whiplash injuries that car cannot be moved either. until the patient is medicaly assesed. the real reason i suspect that closures take longer than 2010 is that is when the govt started decimating the emergency services and HA staff! so response times are longer and not all resources are available when required. archiebored
  • Score: 9

12:00pm Wed 15 Jan 14

archiebored says...

PS
cumbria police dont have a helicopter. and we really should be looking for the reasons why serious accidents are on the increase.
prevention is better than cure.
PS cumbria police dont have a helicopter. and we really should be looking for the reasons why serious accidents are on the increase. prevention is better than cure. archiebored
  • Score: 9

4:08pm Wed 15 Jan 14

tictoc1 says...

I have to agree with hogheaven. I witnessed an accident last year and the person from the Highways Agency was useless! Running around in a panic rather than helping the poor man with blood gushing out of his head and wandering in a daze (I'll add that all vehicles were in a set of road works, so weren't in the lanes being used by daily traffic)! If these are the people that are meant to help our Highways then I'm not surprised with the figures above.
I have to agree with hogheaven. I witnessed an accident last year and the person from the Highways Agency was useless! Running around in a panic rather than helping the poor man with blood gushing out of his head and wandering in a daze (I'll add that all vehicles were in a set of road works, so weren't in the lanes being used by daily traffic)! If these are the people that are meant to help our Highways then I'm not surprised with the figures above. tictoc1
  • Score: -6

4:42pm Wed 15 Jan 14

RVW6386 says...

It is annoying to be delayed but let's put this into perspective - if someone is injured/trapped it takes time to get relevant emergency services to the scene (not always helped by people who decide to use the hard shoulder as a lavatory whilst they wait). It takes time to extracate people from vehicles. If, God forbid, it was one of my loved ones I'd want them to take all the time they need to do it right and to the benefit of the casualty. HA staff are no different to other 999 services they too have to abide by protocols of motorway incidents - to safeguard them and ALL other roadusers. No one takes pleasure in causing others delays but safety of all is paramount. Please don't make derisory comments about people who put their lives at risk to help others.
It is annoying to be delayed but let's put this into perspective - if someone is injured/trapped it takes time to get relevant emergency services to the scene (not always helped by people who decide to use the hard shoulder as a lavatory whilst they wait). It takes time to extracate people from vehicles. If, God forbid, it was one of my loved ones I'd want them to take all the time they need to do it right and to the benefit of the casualty. HA staff are no different to other 999 services they too have to abide by protocols of motorway incidents - to safeguard them and ALL other roadusers. No one takes pleasure in causing others delays but safety of all is paramount. Please don't make derisory comments about people who put their lives at risk to help others. RVW6386
  • Score: 7

5:20pm Wed 15 Jan 14

hogheaven says...

RVW6386 wrote:
It is annoying to be delayed but let's put this into perspective - if someone is injured/trapped it takes time to get relevant emergency services to the scene (not always helped by people who decide to use the hard shoulder as a lavatory whilst they wait). It takes time to extracate people from vehicles. If, God forbid, it was one of my loved ones I'd want them to take all the time they need to do it right and to the benefit of the casualty. HA staff are no different to other 999 services they too have to abide by protocols of motorway incidents - to safeguard them and ALL other roadusers. No one takes pleasure in causing others delays but safety of all is paramount. Please don't make derisory comments about people who put their lives at risk to help others.
My comments related to non injury accidents, its a question of common sense and to making judgments at the time ,not following scripted dialogue as though you were baking a cake.My comments are not derisory but balanced views from what I see happening. on a daily basis ,There are more accidents because of the increase in traffic and a general decline in driving standards. If it was not for the increased safety features in our cars such as air bags and crush zones, there would be a lot more fatalities.I have just come up the M6 in near darkness and the number of drivers without lights on beggars belief (why are the usually driving black cars?) .for gods sake it does not cost anything to put them on ,take pride in your driving .!
[quote][p][bold]RVW6386[/bold] wrote: It is annoying to be delayed but let's put this into perspective - if someone is injured/trapped it takes time to get relevant emergency services to the scene (not always helped by people who decide to use the hard shoulder as a lavatory whilst they wait). It takes time to extracate people from vehicles. If, God forbid, it was one of my loved ones I'd want them to take all the time they need to do it right and to the benefit of the casualty. HA staff are no different to other 999 services they too have to abide by protocols of motorway incidents - to safeguard them and ALL other roadusers. No one takes pleasure in causing others delays but safety of all is paramount. Please don't make derisory comments about people who put their lives at risk to help others.[/p][/quote]My comments related to non injury accidents, its a question of common sense and to making judgments at the time ,not following scripted dialogue as though you were baking a cake.My comments are not derisory but balanced views from what I see happening. on a daily basis ,There are more accidents because of the increase in traffic and a general decline in driving standards. If it was not for the increased safety features in our cars such as air bags and crush zones, there would be a lot more fatalities.I have just come up the M6 in near darkness and the number of drivers without lights on beggars belief (why are the usually driving black cars?) .for gods sake it does not cost anything to put them on ,take pride in your driving .! hogheaven
  • Score: -2

6:02pm Wed 15 Jan 14

RVW6386 says...

Hogheaven, don't be touchy, the comments were not directed at you. You are right of course circumstances dictate actions, and they do in 99% of cases, but when the 'shoulda-squads' (shoulda done this, shoulda done that) retrospectively dissect the incident they do follow the 'cake recipe' and insist that others do too. Don.t agree with that methodology but that's what we are stuck with. Also coroners, judges, barristers and most importantly families want accuracy in enquires and accuracy takes time.
As for no lights thats because there is no light on between their ears.
Hogheaven, don't be touchy, the comments were not directed at you. You are right of course circumstances dictate actions, and they do in 99% of cases, but when the 'shoulda-squads' (shoulda done this, shoulda done that) retrospectively dissect the incident they do follow the 'cake recipe' and insist that others do too. Don.t agree with that methodology but that's what we are stuck with. Also coroners, judges, barristers and most importantly families want accuracy in enquires and accuracy takes time. As for no lights thats because there is no light on between their ears. RVW6386
  • Score: 6

11:51pm Sun 19 Jan 14

Wrist Assessment says...

The number of RTC's quoted in the article is for incidents that have closed the motorway. There are actually hundreds (I'm not kidding!) of RTC's every year on the M6 in Lancs and Cumbria. The vast majority of these are safely cleared to the hard shoulder by the Police and Highways Agency in a quick and professional manner, making the motorway safe for the people involved and for the travelling public. Motorways are only ever closed if absolutley essential and there is no other option.
The number of RTC's quoted in the article is for incidents that have closed the motorway. There are actually hundreds (I'm not kidding!) of RTC's every year on the M6 in Lancs and Cumbria. The vast majority of these are safely cleared to the hard shoulder by the Police and Highways Agency in a quick and professional manner, making the motorway safe for the people involved and for the travelling public. Motorways are only ever closed if absolutley essential and there is no other option. Wrist Assessment
  • Score: 6

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