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How Safe are you on the Roads? - From the Road Safety Foundation

Published: 09/12/14

The Road Safety Foundation recently published some interesting and quite surprising data about safety on our road network. The report, produced with support from EuroRAP (European Road Assessment Programme) entitled How Safe Are You on Britain’s Roads? provides great insight into what is happening on the British road network.

Rich with interesting facts and diagrams the report measures and maps the differing risk of death and serious injury road users face across this network. We are told that the majority of deaths are concentrated on just 10% of the British road network, motorways and 'A' roads outside major urban areas.

Other sections include most improved roads, and those with persistent and unacceptable high risks. It highlights roads where authorities have taken effective action. And features 15 stretches of roads where low cost action has reduced serious crashes by 80%; worth a staggering £0.4bn to the economy.

The report shows major differences not only between individual roads, but between whole regions. The risks road users face overall on the major roads of the East Midlands are a startling two thirds higher than neighbouring West Midlands - greater than between many European countries.

Risk on the roads depends on the way we drive, the vehicles we drive and the roads we drive on. But, with similar vehicles and drivers, it is the in-built safety of the roads in the West Midlands that explains its better performance - more travel is done on safer roads. The motorways and single carriageways of the West Midlands have the greatest in-built safety of any region. The report maintains that it is often neither difficult nor expensive to raise infrastructure safety; that it brings high returns to the economy and requires systematic measurement of risk. The in-built safety of the infrastructure of roads, like cars, is now measured worldwide.

Here are just some of the Key Findings:

  • The number of people killed on all of Britain’s roads in 2013 decreased by 2% to 1,713 from 1,754 in 2012
  • 64 people are killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads every day
  • £15 billion is lost annually in road crashes on Britain’s roads based on crashes reported to the police alone
  • 6 in 10 fatal crashes occur on rural roads
  • 50% of the cost of all fatal crashes on the British road network occur on the 10% of roads surveyed and mapped in this report (the EuroRAP network)
  • Britain suffers annual serious injury costs of £0.3 billion on motorways, £0.6 billion on national trunk roads and £2 billion on local authority ‘A’ roads on the EuroRAP network
  • 5% of travel is on higher risk roads, 17% on medium, 46% on low-medium and 32% on low risk roads
  • Motorways have seen the greatest improvement with a 20% reduction in fatal and serious crashes compared to single and dual carriageway ‘A’ roads at 14%
  • 2% of the network surveyed rated as high risk, 12% medium-high, 30% medium, 46% low-medium and 10% low
  • Single carriageway ‘A’ roads have 7 times the risk of motorways and 3 times the risk of dual carriageways
  • 14% of the network surveyed has unacceptably high risk
  • Virtually all fatal motorcycle crashes are concentrated on less than a third of the network
  • The North-West local authority ‘A’ road network is the highest risk of all local authority ‘A’ roads
  • The Welsh trunk road network is the highest risk of all trunk ‘A’ roads

The report also features a map – Risk Rating of Britain’s Motorways and A Roads, which shows the statistical risk of death or serious injury occurring on Britain’s motorway and A road network for 2010-2012.

And if you want to check out how the roads near you fare – several other specific UK regional Risk Rating Maps can also be downloaded, as can the full report itself at:


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