This article was published on October 17th, 2012
According to a new report by the Road Safety Foundation, the risk of death or serious injury on the UK’s motorways and A roads is highest in Scotland and lowest in the West Midlands.
The report, names ‘Engineering for a Safer Future’, measured safety levels across 27,000 miles of motorway and A roads where the majority of the UK’s road accidents occur.
It found that typically, the persistently high risk roads – narrow, twisting and with hills – are in the rural areas of the North.
Although it appears to make sense to improve these roads, the Road Safety Foundation said they are a low priority due to their lower traffic flows.
For the first time, this year’s reports also named Britain’s busy high-risk roads, with the A21 topping the league and two further roads in the South-East also making the list.
Dr Joanne Marden, Director of the Road Safety Foundation said: “Even a modest ambition to improve these sections of road – so they simply get an ‘average’ risk rating and became six times more risky than motorways -would save many lives and cost savings to the economy of £20m annually.
“The planned reforms in road financing means a new focus on measuring safety performance and the high returns quickly available from safety engineering.”
“Where there is clear evidence of higher risk and heavy traffic flows, the economic case for intervention is compelling.”
Simple attention to safety engineering details have already resulted in significant reductions in road related deaths and serious injuries in some areas.
Fatal and serious injury smashes on 10 separate roads dramatically decreased by two-thirds from 541 to 209 thanks to new safety measures the Road Safety Foundation said.
This is thought to be worth £35m annually to the economy.
“Other leading countries are investing to upgrade safety on major roads. Dutch Ministers have announced a minimum three-star safety rating for their national network by 2020 following an assessment of costs, benefits and practicality, ” Marden added.
“The British public should not be driving five-star cars on one and two-star roads. The Government must make minimum safety levels the centrepiece of any reform.”
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