More than 300 people in the UK have avoided the prospect of catastrophic injury or death due to simple improvements on 15 roads, according to a survey by the Road Safety Foundation - the 'Simple Measures Save Lives' report published in May 2011. The Road Safety Foundation has been mapping and tracking the rate of death and serious injury on Britain's motorways and main roads since 2002.
According to the study, improvements including better signage, improved layout and markings at junctions, speed limit reviews and resurfacing have resulted in a 62% reduction in serious and fatal accidents on these 15 roads. The report highlights the cost effectiveness of these measures and the wider benefits achieved by reducing the number of such accidents. It reports that this reduction in accidents has resulted in a £50 million saving to the emergency services, NHS, local authority care costs, businesses and families.
The report highlights that Britain's motorways are by far the safest roads in the UK and the West Midlands is the safest region.
However, while the report indicates a continuing trend in the reduction in the number of accidents, it does highlight some alarming statistics about road traffic accidents:
- 73 people on average are killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads every day
- in the last decade there have been 30,000 fatalities and 300,000 serious injuries as a result of road traffic accidents
- approximately one third of fatal and serious injury accidents occur at motorway and A road junctions
- 19% of these involve pedestrians or cyclists
- 25% of the fatal and serious injury accidents on motorways are rear end shunts
- motorcyclists make up 1% of the road traffic but 21% of the road deaths
- the risk of accidents on single carriageway main roads is three times that on a dual carriageway and six times that on a motorway.
These relatively simple and low cost measures can and do make a significant difference to road safety and actually reduce the number of such accidents significantly. We hope that the government and local authorities will look at these findings and invest in order to continue to improve road safety and recognise the wide benefits of such investment.