Liz Truss said that she would drop the smart one highways and is willing to consider ending mandatory speed limits on them when she becomes prime minister next week.
The Foreign Secretary made the comments in response to a question from a Conservative Party member at the latest contest in the race to succeed Boris Johnson as leader.
Smart motorways, which include variable speed limits and the use of hard shoulders as a carriageway during peak hours, are controversial among many Tory MPs after claims they increase the risk of accidents.
A Conservative audience member at Wembley, named only as David, told Ms Truss: “Smart motorways are killing. They also cause huge delays because they close lanes when there is a breakdown, which is a problem for people who have to drive in as part of his work.
“They also often impose very low speed limits – mandatory – much lower than necessary.
“So will you reinstate hard shoulders on all motorways and in the meantime will you change the speed limit from mandatory to advisory to allow drivers to make their own judgments about what speed is safe rather than having an overcautious person at the wheel. set a speed limit for them?’
Mrs. Truss replied: “I agree with you. I absolutely believe that we should look at them as soon as possible and stop them if they are not working. All the evidence I have agrees with what you are making about smart freeways.
“As for speed limits, I would be willing to look at that. I can’t give you a definite answer on that. But I believe the experiment with smart freeways has not worked.”
Asked by LBC Radio’s Nick Ferrari if she would “stop smart motorways”, Ms Truss said simply: “Yes”.