The Motorways; Traffic (England and Wales) Regulations 1982 define a hard shoulder and its uses. Regulation 7 provides that a vehicle may stop and remain at rest on a hard shoulder where it is necessary:
By reason of a breakdown or lack of fuel, oil or water or
By reason of any accident, illness or other emergency or
To permit any person carried in the vehicle to recover or move any object that has fallen onto a motorway or
To permit any person carried in the vehicle to give help to another person in association with the above situations.
The M42 (Junctions 3A to 7) Actively Managed Hard Shoulder and Variable Speed Limits) Regulations 2005, modified the 1982 regulations in respect of M42 Junctions 3A to 7 and the adjoining slip roads to introduce variable speed limits and create the concept of an ‘actively managed hard shoulder’, which may, in certain circumstances, be driven on.
Information for drivers on the use of the hard shoulder is given in the Highway Code, sections 269 to 271.