Nargis Begum (pictured above with her husband Mohammed Bashir) died after the car she was travelling in with her husband Mohammed Bashir broke down on a smart motorway
National Highways will not face a corporate manslaughter charge over the death of a woman on a smart motorway, a police force has confirmed.
Nargis Begum, 62, from Sheffield, was killed on a stretch of the M1 without a hard shoulder in South Yorkshire, near Woodhall services, in September 2018.
She had got out of a broken-down Nissan Qashqai car and was waiting for help when another vehicle collided with the Nissan, causing it to plough into her.
South Yorkshire Police carried out a “scoping exercise” for possible charges after concerns about the section of road were raised by a coroner.
The force confirmed the investigation into the offence had now ended.
South Yorkshire’s Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Poolman said: “Having considered the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) advice, we have concluded that in the circumstances, Highways England [now known as National Highways] cannot be held liable for the offence of corporate manslaughter.
“This is because, in legal terms, the organisation did not owe road users a ‘relevant duty of care’ under the terms set out in the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
“For this reason, I have brought the police investigation into this offence to an end.”
Previous hearings into Ms Begum’s death in 2018 heard that 16 minutes elapsed between her Nissan car breaking down near Woodall Services and another vehicle striking it, with a further six minutes before warning signs on the motorway were activated.
At a pre-inquest review, South Yorkshire coroner Nicola Mundy highlighted the time the breakdown went undetected and suggested the government-owned company should be referred to the CPS to consider if manslaughter charges were appropriate.
Smart motorways, which use technology to maintain the flow of traffic and give information on overhead displays, have existed in England since 2002.
The all-lane-running version – which involves opening the hard shoulder permanently to drivers – began in 2014.
Last month, the government announced it was halting the expansion of smart motorways amid safety concerns. Schemes to convert other motorways were being paused until five years’ worth of safety data from those already built was available.