It was rather sobering on Saturday morning to be highlighting the crash on the M5 as part of the my Severn FM Traffic report. The accident happened just around Frankley Services, in which a truck hit a coach, 22 people injured and now 2 have died. As someone who spends a lot of time on the road with my day job, I see varying levels of driving quality, and many incidents that “just happen”. However reading some of the reports of the accident in the following days, I am left wondering if this accident could have been avoided.
From what I have seen, the coach had broken down in lane 1 (the ‘slow’ lane) and it was really foggy. A concerned motorist had rung the authorities via 999 about the coach, and therefore the Highways Agency had set the motorway signage to warn of the obstruction. About 10 minutes later the smash happened. However, I can not help but think that rather than just set the signs, could the Highways Agency and Police have got personnel out there to provide additional warnings. Especially considering the experience of the recent accident around Taunton in similar conditions. If a highways vehicle had been able to slow or alert drivers much earlier down the road, could this incident have been avoided?
I don’t always agree with the ‘drop of a hat’ calls for a ‘public enquiry’ but in this case, I think there is a question to be answered in terms of could more have been done by the authorities to warn motorway users. Coupled with this, if they could have done more, why didn’t they? What held them up? Was it just not enough time, or not enough staff, or just too many other things to deal with?
- Bus driver held over M5 death crash – The Independent (independent.co.uk)
- M5 horror crash: M5 bus smash driver dies in hospital – Mirror.co.uk (mirror.co.uk)