‘Stupid’: Police stunned as taxi driver waits for fare on motorway hard shoulder

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A private hire driver has been reported after officers witnessed them parked on the hard shoulder of the M56 Motorway waiting for a fare. The offence occurred on the major road leading to Manchester Airport.

Officers from the North West Motorway Police intercepted the blue Skoda yesterday and were quick to tweet about the incident.

They wrote: “Our ME41 came across a private hire vehicle parked on the hard shoulder of the MY Manchester Airport Spur.

“Driver waiting to pick up passengers. TOR issued.”

Twitter users were amazed by the driver’s actions with many commenting under the photo.

One wrote: “In this day and age, how does a professional driver still think this is appropriate?”

And another asked: “Do you apply for the drivers private hire plate to be suspended?”

One Twitter user suggest the nearby airport could be involved, writing: “Can’t you just fine Manchester Airport for creating such terrible pick up / drop off zones and then you having to deal with the mess everyday?”

But another replied: “Why fine the airport? It’s people’s choice to stop on the motorway. The airport has parking available. The fact that people don’t want to pay isn’t the airport’s fault either. Without charges, it would be chaos.”

Another wrote simply: “You can’t educate stupid…”

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Rule 246 of the Highway Code states: “You MUST NOT drive on the hard shoulder except in an emergency or if directed to do so by the police, traffic officers in uniform or by signs.”

Driving on the hard shoulder illegally could result in a fine of £100 and three points on your driving licence.

The penalty could be higher if you cause an accident though.

You could be charged with careless driving in the worst case, and that could come with a £5,000 fine, up to nine penalty points and even a driving ban.

The incident comes as it was announced radar technology to detect broken down vehicles has been retrofitted to 111 more miles of Smart motorway.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the Commons Transport Select Committee the stopped vehicle detection system “should have been part of the plan from the outset”.

He added that “good progress is being made” on improving the safety of smart motorways but he is “impatient” for more action.

National Highways has committed to ensuring every stretch of motorway where the hard shoulder has been permanently removed will have radar technology fitted by the end of September.

There have been several incidents of people being killed after being hit from behind while stopped in live traffic lanes on smart motorways.

And that sparked safety fears and debate over the future of the digitally monitored motorways.

Despite those incidents, Mr Shapps said National Highways will soon publish new data showing the roads “remain among the safest in the country, notwithstanding the concerns that we all have”.

In January, the Department for Transport halted the development of new smart motorways without a hard shoulder until five years of safety data has been collected for schemes introduced before 2020.

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