Road safety has always been a hot topic. One of the leading road safety organizations, the Road Safety Foundation reported that nearly half of all crashes occur on less than one tenth ofBritain’s 28,000 mile road network. The A537 between Macclesfield, Cheshire and Buxton in Derbyshire topped this list as the most dangerous of all roads.
The Road Safety Foundation, itself part of the European Road Assessment Programme has for a long time been campaigning for more investment in road safety. Its report in 2010, entitled Saving Lives for Less, not only highlighted accident black spots, but also concluded that if more was spent on road safety, it would mean less of a burden on the NHS and emergency services. These key services are already struggling with government cut backs and austerity measures.
The report highlighted the main risks associated with driving. One of the biggest of all risks is at junctions where over a third of all accidents in the UK occur. It is suggested that junctions and marking could be improved to help improve safety. The report also suggested other infrastructure improvements such road resurfacing. Such measures have shown to improve junction safety in the past. Such as between 2003 and 2005 serious accidents fell from a 27 to just 7.
The director of the Road Safety Foundation told BBC News, “Too often we pay for emergency services, hospitals and care of the disabled rather than taking easy step to put road design faults right.”
InScotlandwhere a quarter of the road survey was carried out, nine fatal accidents occurred according to the report. Scotland has reportedly the most dangerous motorway and A-road network. 12% of these roads are considered to be in the higher risk categories. However, none of Scotland’s roads made it to the top 10 most dangerous roads in Britain
1.A537 Macclesfield to Buxton
2. A5012 Pikehall to Matlock
3. A621 Baslow to Totley
4. A625 Calver to Sheffield
5. A54 Congleton to Buxton
6. A581 Rufford to Chorley
7. A5004 Whaley Bridge to Buxton
8.A675 Blackburn to Preston
9. A61 Barnsley to Wakefield
10. A285 Chichester to Petworth
Source: Road Safety Foundation
Although the findings do seem quite alarming, the report has found that the cause of many accidents could be resolved through engineering and road layout alternations. For example, the most dangerous road in Britain the A537 has some sharp bends. The carriageway itself is edged by rock face and dry stone walls. This in itself contributes to the severe accident rate.
The road is also popular with tourists and others whom are unfamiliar with the route, this clearly explains the current accident injury claim statistics. Not surprisingly, most accidents occur at weekends during the summer months, in daylight hours when the weather is fine.
It is clear from this report that with some better road safety initiatives these figures could have a positive impact on road safety, reduce the accident rate and benefit an already struggling healthcare system.