Only half of the motorways in England reach the highest standard of safety, with other major roads also falling below the highest safety targets.
According the BBC, a report into the country’s major A-roads and motorways found that they fell short in protecting people who went off the roads
The report, conducted by the Road Safety Foundation, stated that many roads could be improved easily, and that structural defects are in existence which would not be tolerated were the same to be found on train lines or runways.
The report marked major roads between one and four stars and only half the motorways reached the four star safety level. One of the major concerns were unprotected signs and trees, which could escalate a minor accident in to a major one. Single carriageway A-roads fared poorly as well, with the majority only getting a grading of two stars. Amongst the safety recommendations were that oncoming traffic should be separated by more than single white lines on high speed carriageways.
Mr John Dawson, Chairman of EuroRAP (the European Road Assessment Programme), of which the Road Safety Foundation is a UK subsidiary, went as far as to say that “…most rural roads in Europe are not safe at the posted speed limit”. He also stated his belief that single carriageway roads “need urgent investment in affordable safety line markings, safety fencing and junction layouts.”
The report stops short of saying that the major roads in England are dangerous, however, it is clearly implied that more must be done if we to are come in to line with countries such as Germany where 70% of their roads meet the four star criteria. Investment in road safety is a key preventative tool in both reducing the number of accidents on our roads and minimising the severity of injuries which are sustained in road accidents that do occur. Statistics show that the UK economy loses approximately £18 billion annually and surely the investment required to improve road safety would severely undercut this amount and the long term benefits would be felt by all road users.