Uneven safety on Britain’s main roads

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Published on 5 July 2019 by Mike Waters

A survey by the Road Safety Foundation has found an uneven rate of deaths and serious injuries on main roads across England, Wales and Scotland.

While the survey found that the overall number of deaths on mainland Britain’s roads overall has generally held steady since 2011 and found good progress on some types of road, major differences by country were found.

Scotland’s main roads were found to be the safest out of the mainland UK’s with just 13 deaths and serious injuries per billion vehicles miles travelled, while England was found to have 15 and Wales was found to have 18 over the same distance.

However, closer inspection has revealed a significant imbalance in England’s road safety statistics in particular. Roads on the Strategic Road Network (SRN) of motorways and major dual carriageways were found to have just eight fatalities and serious injuries per billion vehicle miles, but the new local authority-run Major Road Network (MRN) – which the Foundation noted was “only slightly longer and only carrying one third of the traffic” by comparison – saw more than four times as many at 35 fatalities and serious injuries per billion vehicles miles.

The report noted: “On the Strategic Road Network, ‘A’ roads alone are half the risk of roads on the Major Road Network. Only 10% of travel on the MRN is on low-risk sections, and 18% of travel is on medium or higher risk sections (compared to just 1% of travel on strategic roads). These roads should therefore be tackled as a priority to ensure that they are as safe as should be expected of major roads.”

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Picture credit: Gleb Kozenko on Unsplash