The findings of the Road Safety Foundation’s latest report, How Safe Are You On Britain’s Roads, reflect those of other 2014 reports which indicate that road safety statistics show an overall improvement. The number of crashes causing death or serious injury are declining but certain groups are more at risk than others - particularly motorcyclists who are involved in 21% of fatal crashes despite making up only 1% of traffic.
The report highlights a large variation between types of road, noting that the most dangerous roads are single carriage A roads which account for six out of 10 road deaths. The report also noted the variation of road deaths and serious injury across the country, although these variations follow the statistics relating to the road type. For example, areas where there is heavier traffic on A roads tend to have higher accident rates that those where there was heavier motorway traffic.
The Road Safety Foundation also analysed the impact of measures to improve road safety and found that the biggest improvements were not necessarily in areas where works had specifically been carried out for the purposes of road safety. Instead, they found that the most effective - and certainly the most cost-effective - measures were simple maintenance jobs such as road resurfacing, improvements to signing and marking, improvements to junctions and decreasing speed limits.
William Broadbent, associate in the Penningtons Manches personal injury team, commented: “It is encouraging that the RSF’s report findings reinforce the trend towards fewer fatalities and that the combined efforts of road safety campaigners such as the Road Safety Foundation and Brake, along with local and national government, are leading to significant improvements in road safety.
“This year’s statistics do, however, strongly highlight the increased risk on A roads – and many of the accidents we deal with involve fast traffic on A roads. Drivers must be extra vigilant and careful on these roads and realise that a speed limit is a maximum rather than a speed at which to drive. It is not always appropriate to travel at these speeds and drivers must apply common sense.
“We urge local and national governments to take note that simple maintenance measures lead to significant improvements as some may be ignoring the easier and cheaper suggestions in favour of more radical campaigns. We regularly see serious personal injury claims resulting from pot holes or foliage-covered warning signs which could be easily avoided.”